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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Commander: Israel targeted drone over southern Syria

Iran Press TV

Mon Jun 25, 2018 09:54AM

A commander in the regional alliance fighting terrorists in Syria has said Israel targeted a drone engaged in ongoing operations by the Syrian army near the occupied Golan Heights.

The Israeli military said Sunday it launched a Patriot anti-aircraft missile at a drone that was spotted approaching from inside Syria but missed the unmanned plane which withdrew.

The Syrian army is widening a military campaign to regain militant-held territory near the area in Quneitra Province where the drone was targeted along the border with Jordan.

"The drone is for operations in southern Syrian around where the battles are going on," Reuters quoted an unnamed commander in the regional alliance supporting Syrian troops as saying.

The recapture of the territory in southwest Syria is strategically important. Its return to Syrian government control would cut collaboration between Israel and militants and deal a blow to Tel Aviv's plans to annex the Golan Heights.

In May, the US threatened Syria with "firm and appropriate measures" as the Syrian army prepared to retake the neighboring Dara'a Province bordering Jordan and the Golan Heights.

US and Israeli warplanes have repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions. Damascus and its allies believe the raids are aimed at propping up militants fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

On Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry said a Syrian army counterattack, which used backup Russian airstrikes, repelled a militant attack in the Dara'a governorate, killing more than 70 militants.

The attackers reportedly belonged to the Nusra Front terrorist group, an al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, which has rebranded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

The ministry said the Syrian armed forces suffered no losses during the battles, the agency added.

Israel is widely believed to have been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria inside the occupied Golan Heights.

The US also supports several militant groups in Syria.

On Sunday, Washington was reported to have sent a message to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), telling the militant group that it should no longer rely on its support in the face of the Syrian offensive.

A copy of the message, seen by Reuters, said the US government wanted to make clear that "you should not base your decisions on the assumption or expectation of a military intervention by us."

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