A rare daylight drone strike in Syria has targeted a weapons shipment making its way from Iraq. The strike took place near an illegal military crossing used by Iranian proxy militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and several Iraqi news agencies reported Wednesday afternoon.
The illegal crossing in question is located near Al-Qaim. It is used by Iranian-led militias to move between Iraq and Syria and bring in reinforcement and shipments near the city of AlbuKamal in eastern Syria.
Iraqi media outlets blamed the attack on Israel. If so, the brazen shipment had to be deemed of extremely high value for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to risk a daylight strike.
SOHR didn’t have a count on any casualties in the immediate area but its observers reported several violent explosions after the drone strike. The Step News Agency reported that the vehicle targeted was carrying an arms shipment belonging to Iranian proxy militias and that the U.S.-led international coalition was behind the strike. An Iraqi security source said to Al-Sumaria News that the source of the strike was not yet known.
Israel has frequently targeted and admitted to targeting, Iranian troops and proxy militias, including Hezbollah, as well as weapons shipments and manufacturing facilities in Syria. Nevertheless, a daylight drone strike appears to be more of a U.S. coalition operation than an Israeli one.
The IDF has launched hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the Syrian Civil War began. It has made it clear that it won’t tolerate any Iranian units or proxy militias in Syria. Last month it launched a massive airstrike targeting sites housing large concentrations of Iranian troops and missiles. The sites were reportedly used by the Iranians to move rockets, missiles, and other weapons through the area.
According to reports, between 30 and 57 people were killed in those airstrikes. Images from the targeted sites showed several buildings completely destroyed. The U.S. had reportedly furnished intelligence support to the Israelis pinpointing where the arms and missiles that the Iranians had stored were.
According to Amos Yadlin, Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies director-general and former head of IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, Israel is saying to Syria that, “there is a heavy price for the free hand you give to the Iranians.”
Meanwhile, a Turkish assault against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk resulted in at least three Turkish soldiers killed with two more wounded. Al Jazeera reported that three Kurds were also killed in the fighting.
The Turks regularly conduct cross-border operations in Iraq under the justification that the attacks are conducted in legitimate “self-defense,” as they consider the Kurdish group a terrorist organization.