At least six pro-Iran militants, including a Revolutionary Guard commander, were killed, and more than 14 others were wounded on Saturday in a snap attack by a suspected ISIS group in the Syrian desert.
Zaman al-Wasl’s reporter, quoting field sources, said that the attack took place while the convoy was heading from the Damascus International Airport towards the Palmyra desert in the central Homs province, stressing that the convoy consisted of 10 vehicles loaded with members, in addition to two armored vehicles and a truck loaded with weapons and ammunition.
The gunmen targeted the convoy on the main road leading to the city of Palmyra, using machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, and surrounded the convoy from both sides of the road. Clashes lasted about 20 minutes.
The clash ended with the attackers fleeing into the Badia desert after the killing of 6 members, including an Iranian commander, Jabbar Abu Farshad, in addition to wounding more than 14 members. The attack also left two vehicles equipped with machine guns completely burned.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was largely surrounded after the attack and tried to track the militants after bringing in huge reinforcements from the countryside of Damascus and Homs to the area of the attack.
ISIS, which once occupied a third of Iraq’s territory and large swathes of Syria, has been largely defeated in the country but still poses a threat along the border area.
ISIS has resorted to guerrilla tactics since it abandoned its goal of holding territory and creating a self-sufficient caliphate that straddles Iraq and Syria.
Also, in the Syrian desert, Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia has repositioned dozens of missiles, after U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes hit pro-Iran factions based over the week in eastern and central Syria, sources told Zaman al-Wasl Friday.
More than 250 missiles were re-stationed from the desert town of al-Sukhna to the al-Qaryatayn region east of Homs city, according to the source.
In eight trucks, Hezbollah transferred medium-range missiles,150 Katyusha rockets, 30 surface-to-air missiles, and shoulder-mounted anti-armor missiles.
Zaman al-Wasl’s reporter says the transfer came after an unidentified aircraft targeted one of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ warehouses in the Palmyra desert on Thursday.
Last Tuesday, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria said they had foiled an attack in the Deir-ez-Zor region in the northeast of the country, a day after the second anniversary of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
After spotting “several launch sites of indirect fire rockets that posed an imminent threat,” coalition forces “conducted strikes to eliminate the threat,” a coalition official said in a statement.
“Indirect fire attacks pose a serious threat to innocent civilians because of their lack of discrimination” and the coalition “reserves the right to defend itself” added the official.
Asked about who might be behind the attack, the third in less than 48 hours in the region after others targeting the Ain Assad airbase on Tuesday in western Iraq and Baghdad international airport on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he could not identify them.
“I’m not in a position now to get into specific attribution,” he said. “That said, we continue to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran.”
Some 900 U.S. troops remain deployed in northeastern Syria and at the al-Tanf base in the south, on the borders of Iraq and Jordan.
The Syrian conflict has claimed 494,438 lives and has displaced 13,2 million people since it erupted in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.