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Mysterious Airstrike Targets ‘Hezbollah’ Position in Syrian Desert - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut – “Hezbollah” was dealt a new blow on Monday when at least nine of its members, including a top commander, were killed only two days after 14 party members were killed in an ISIS attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that a drone struck a “Hezbollah” position in the Syrian desert in eastern Homs, killing 10 of its members and injuring 20 others.

“At least ten members of the Lebanese ‘Hezbollah’ party were killed in airstrikes by unidentified warplanes that targeted a site of the elite forces of ‘Hezbollah’ at dawn on Monday near the 3rd Station east of Palmyra,” the Observatory said.

It added that a field commander of the party’s Elite Force was among the dead.

The number of “Hezbollah” members killed in the past five days in the area extending from the western desert of Deir al-Zour to al-Sukhnah desert and the eastern countryside of Homs, has risen to at least 23.

Later, conflicting reports emerged concerning the identity of the warplane that targeted the party position in the western desert of Deir al-Zour city.

Websites close to the party reported that a US drone targeted the position, but the spokesperson of the US-led Coalition denied the reports, saying the location was outside its area of operations, Reuters reported on Monday.

Three sources familiar with the incident told Reuters that an air strike carried out by an unidentified warplane killed seven “Hezbollah” members in eastern Syria.

The identity of the warplane was not confirmed, but the sources did not rule out the possibility that it was Russian “friendly fire”.

Meanwhile, sources close to “Hezbollah” admitted that commander of its Intervention Unit, Abbas al-Asheq, was killed by land mines planted by ISIS in central Syria.

Abdel-Nasser al-Ayed, a researcher in Syrian military and strategic affairs told Asharq Al-Awsat that the position of the strike is located “outside the operation areas of the Coalition,” adding that US warplanes had long not flown in that area because it is covered by Russian radars.

The researcher speculated that the strike was Russian or Syrian friendly fire because the targeted position is close to where ISIS had advanced in the past couple of days.