Unidentified jets reportedly strike Syrian town bordering Iraq

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Unidentified jets hit targets south east of the Syrian town of al-Bukamal along a strategic border crossing with Iraq with only material damage, state media said late on Wednesday.

It gave no details.

Western intelligence sources say the border town lies on a strategic supply route for Iranian-backed militias who regularly send reinforcements from Iraq into Syria to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Israel has attacked Iranian bases in the area several times since the start of the year, they added.

Two American personnel and one from Britain were killed, and about a dozen people were wounded when 15 small rockets hit Iraq’s Taji military camp north of Baghdad on Wednesday, two US officials told Reuters, citing preliminary information.

Al-Bukamal along the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing is crucial for Iran’s bid to cement its growing sway over a corridor of territory from Tehran to Beirut.

Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militias known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) captured al-Bukamal on the Euphrates River from ISIS toward the end of 2017.

They now control the mainly Sunni tribal town and its outlying area and have a large presence, intelligence sources say.

The Iranian-backed militias are also in control of large stretches of the frontier on the Iraqi side.

On March 5, Syrian air defense responded to Israeli missiles targeting the south and center of the country.

SANA news agency said “our air defense confronted an Israeli missile attack in the southwest of Quneitra province” in the south and also an area in the center of the country.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, mainly targeting government troops as well as allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

In mid-February, Israeli strikes on Damascus airport killed seven Syrian and Iranian fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

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