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Syria War Monitor Says 16 Killed in Israeli Strike Near Aleppo

A war monitor said 16 members of pro-Iran groups were killed in an Israeli strike near northern Syria’s Aleppo early Monday, with state media also reporting a deadly Israeli attack.

“The death toll of the Israeli strike on a factory in Hayyan in western Aleppo province has risen to 16 pro-Iran group members, including Syrian and foreigner fighters,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, had initially reported 12 dead.

It said pro-Iranian groups composed of local and foreign fighters have considerable influence in government-controlled Hayyan.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on its northern neighbor since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war, mainly targeting army positions and Iran-backed fighters, including from Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

The strikes increased after Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, when the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group launched an unprecedented attack against Israel.

But the Observatory said they slowed after a deadly April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, blamed on Israel, that sent regional tensions skyrocketing and triggered Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel.

The Syrian defense ministry said in a statement that “after midnight… the Israeli enemy launched an air attack from the southeast of Aleppo, targeting some positions” near the city, reporting “martyrs” and “some material damage.”

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow arch-enemy Iran to expand its presence there.

According to the Observatory, Israeli strikes on Wednesday in western and central Syria killed a girl and six fighters working with Hezbollah, including three Syrians.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has long fought in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war.

In March, the Observatory said Israeli air strikes near Aleppo airport killed 52 people — 38 government soldiers, seven Hezbollah members, and seven Syrian pro-Iran fighters.

Syria’s conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus cracked down on anti-government protests.

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