update desk

Blast reported at Syria warehouse used by Iran-backed militias

Explosion reported in southwest Syria, with eyewitnesses saying a munitions compound was destroyed from the air • Arab reports suggest Israel is responsible for strike.

A view of the of the Syrian nuclear reactor before and after it was hit by Israel. Credit: IDF Spokesman Unit screenshot.
A view of the of the Syrian nuclear reactor before and after it was hit by Israel. Credit: IDF Spokesman Unit screenshot.

A loud explosion was reported at an Iranian munitions warehouse in southwest Syria on Tuesday, with unconfirmed Arab media reports suggesting that it was an Israeli strike.

Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday that the warehouse, belonging to an Iran-affiliated militia, was located in the town of Daraa, where President Bashar Assad’s forces have recently retaken much of the rebel stronghold.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a number of explosions were heard in northern Daraa, which is under the control of Assad’s army.

Israel has repeatedly pledged to take action to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in neighboring Syria. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the funding mechanism for Iran’s aggression has been shattered. The IDF, including the Israeli Air Force, will continue to act forcefully against Iranian targets in the area. We will defend our borders, our sovereignty, and the security of our citizens tenaciously and without compromise.”

Assad’s military recently launched a campaign, with Russian support, to retake the city, considered a symbol of the rebellion at the center of the seven-year civil war in the country. Since the launch of the campaign, more than 270,000 Syrians have been displaced.

Syrian and Lebanese news agencies reported on Tuesday that the targeted weapons depot, described as a munitions compound, served Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias in southern Syria. According to the reports, the compound was completely destroyed and there were multiple casualties.

Syrian authorities did not officially confirm the strike, but eyewitnesses reported a number of weapons warehouses being bombed from the air.

Meanwhile, amid ongoing reconciliation efforts, Syrian military operations in southern Syria continued Tuesday and more towns returned to government control.

On Monday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said he would hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, over the conflict in Syria.

Safadi said he would head to Moscow on Tuesday and added that he was confident his meeting with Lavrov would produce more understandings and lead to “more steps forward to contain this crisis and prevent more destruction.”

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