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Syria Today – Israel Targets Southern Syria as Part of Response to Iran Attack

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Israel Targets Southern Syria as Part of Response to Iran Attack

Israel allegedly carried out strikes on a Syrian army position in the country’s south early Friday, Syria’s government and a monitor said, as reports indicated that Jerusalem had launched a retaliatory attack against an Iranian site in Isfahan, AFP reported.

In a statement, Syria’s defence ministry said “The Israeli enemy carried out an attack using missiles… targeting our air defence sites in the southern region” and causing material damage.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Israel targeted an army radar position in the southern province of Daraa that had detected the entry of Israeli planes into Syria’s airspace.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory, claimed the strikes took place “at a time when the Israeli air force was flying intensively over the Daraa region” without Syrian air defences taking any action.

He said six Israeli fighter jets entered Syria’s airspace and were flying east when they were spotted by the radar. He said damage was caused, but it was unclear if there were any casualties.

Bloomberg reveals more details regarding Iranian personnel killings

The Bloomberg television network revealed overnight into Saturday that in the attack attributed to Israel at the Iranian consulate in Syria, the entire command hierarchy responsible for the activities of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Lebanon was killed. According to the report, “the senior officers were pivotal for Hezbollah’s activities in the region.”

According to the reports, General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and his deputy, Mohammad Hadi Rahimi, along with other officers who were killed, were certain that the consulate building next to the embassy was “the safest” in Damascus and that Israel would not dare to attack the site. 

Before the airstrike on the consulate building in Damascus, the residences of the ambassador and the consul were supposed to be transferred to a new apartment complex further down the same street, where the two brothers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also live. Shortly before the attack, the senior ranking officials of the IRGC in Syria met on the second floor of the consulate building and decided to stay there.

Iraqi fighters hit Israeli target in Syria’s Golan 

Iraq’s “Islamic Resistance” has announced striking a “vital” Israeli target with drones in the occupied Golan Heights, Iranian Press TV has said.

The fighters said they had carried out the operation “in continuation of (its) path in resisting the occupation, in support of the people in Gaza, and in response to the massacres committed by the usurping entity against Palestinian civilians.”

The resistance vowed to “continue striking the enemy’s strongholds.”

Jordan: Syrian Student Faces Imminent Deportation

Jordanian authorities should halt the imminent deportation of a Syrian communications student who faces a significant risk of persecution if forcibly returned to Syria, Human Rights Watch said today.

The police arrested Atia Mohamad Abu Salem, 24, and a Jordanian friend on April 9, 2024, as they were on their way to film a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza in Amman. He and a number of his family members, known for their opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule in Syria, have been registered as asylum seekers with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since 2013. Jordanian authorities later ordered Abu Salem’s deportation without a court order or realistic ability to challenge the order.

“Jordanian authorities are on the verge of deporting a 24-year-old Syrian student who has lived half his life in Jordan without charging him for a crime or presenting him before a judicial body and merely for attempting to document a rally in solidarity with Gaza,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Nobody should face deportation without due process, especially when their life and well-being are at stake.”

The unlawful deportation of Abu Salem, who is originally from Daraa governorate in southern Syria, would violate the customary international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning people to places where they have a well-founded fear of persecution or other serious abuses.

While parts of Syria have not had active conflict hostilities since 2018, Syria remains unfit for safe and dignified refugee returns. Human Rights Watch has documented numerous instances where Syrian security agencies have arbitrarily detained, kidnapped, tortured, and killed refugees who returned to Syria from Jordan and Lebanon between 2017 and 2021. As recently as July 2023, Human Rights Watch found that returnees had been tortured in Syrian military intelligence custody and conscripted to serve in Syria’s military reserve force. Other human rights groups, the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria, and UNHCR also maintain that Syria remains unsafe for returns. In March 2024, the COI declared that Syria is experiencing a “new wave of violence” not seen since 2020.

Human Rights Watch spoke to Ahmad Sawai, a lawyer with the freedoms committee at the Jordanian Bar Association who is representing Abu Salem; to Hadeel Abdel Aziz, the executive director of the legal aid group Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), whose lawyers are also representing Abu Salem in administrative proceedings; and to a relative of Abu Salem abroad.

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