At least eight people were reportedly killed overnight Wednesday in Israeli airstrikes in Syria.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — a pro-Syrian opposition organization of uncertain funding based in the UK — the fighters were killed in Homs Province in central Syria.
The monitor’s director, Rami Abdul Rahman, told AFP that “at least five army soldiers and three allied fighters were killed” in the strikes shortly before midnight.
The Observatory has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of inflating casualty numbers, as well as inventing them wholesale.
The purported Israeli Air Force strike is the first attack in Syria attributed to Israel in more than a month.
According to a military source cited by the Syrian state news agency Sana, air defense systems managed to shoot down some Israeli missiles that were fired from the direction of Lebanon after 11:30 p.m., while others caused damage.
“Our air defense array confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down some of them, and there were material losses only,” the source was quoted as saying earlier in the evening.
Defense analysts routinely dismiss such claims by the Syrian regime as empty boasts.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported “violent explosions felt in Damascus and around the city, followed by Israeli strikes on military positions” of the Syrian army.
“Airstrikes also took place in the south of Homs province and in the border zone between Homs and Tartus,” Observatory chief Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP.
The Israeli army, which rarely acknowledges its strikes in Syria, told AFP it would not comment on “information coming from abroad.”
The IDF has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 against moves by Iran to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, game-changing weapons to terrorist groups in the region, principally Hezbollah.
The pace of attacks has slowed considerably in recent months, with the last reported strikes taking place May 5 and 6 on sites in Latakia and near Quneitra. One civilian was reported killed in the May 5 strike.
AFP contributed to this report.