Nearly 40 killed in air strikes on Syria

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Hezbollah militants and supporters attend the funeral of a commander killed in an Israeli strike in Lebanon's southern city of Nabatieyh on February 16, 2024.Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Members of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah (file image)

By Christy Cooney

BBC News

At least 36 people have been killed in Israeli air strikes near the Syrian city of Aleppo, according to reports.

The Syrian defence ministry says the strikes hit several sites in Aleppo's countryside at 01:45 local time on Friday (22:45 GMT Thursday).

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says the targets were weapons stores used by Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Israel does not typically comment on any attacks against Syria.

Citing two security sources, Reuters news agency reports that five Hezbollah fighters are among the dead and gives a death toll of 38.

The defence ministry says civilians and Syrian military personnel were also killed.

The SOHR, a monitoring group with an extensive network of contacts in Syria, says "dozens" of others were injured.

The sites targeted are near Aleppo International Airport, it adds.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of strikes on Syria, mostly targeting groups allied with Iran, a significant backer of Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The strikes have increased since Hamas carried out the 7 October attacks and Israel began its retaliatory campaign to destroy the group in Gaza.

Hezbollah has also launched repeated rocket barrages against Israel from southern Lebanon.

The defence ministry said the new air strikes had coincided with drone attacks in Aleppo carried out by "terrorist organisations", though it did not specify whether there had been any further casualties.

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