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Israel attacks southern Syria region, Syrian state media says

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By Reuters

<div> <p> -The Syrian government said Israel carried out an attack in southern Syria on Monday, state media reported, in a frontier zone where Israel has long been concerned about the presence of Iran-backed groups. </p> <p>The Israeli military declined to comment.</p> <p>A Syrian foreign ministry source said Israel had committed “a new aggression in the southern region” at dawn, the Syrian state news agency <span class="caps">SANA</span> reported. It did not say what was hit or whether there were any casualties.</p> <p>Israel has mounted regular strikes against what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s war. </p> <p>A pro-Assad source familiar with the incident said an Israeli drone had struck several sites including a base operated by Hezbollah in al Baath city in Quneitra province and a second target. A third missile hit a reconnaissance tower near a Syrian army base, the source said. </p> <p>The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organisation which reports on the war, said an Israeli aircraft had fired rockets at two positions held by Syrian government forces and their allies in Quneitra province.</p> <p>The attack had caused material damage and there was no information yet about casualties, it said.</p> <p>Syria was discussed last week at a meeting in Sochi between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally.</p> <p>Bennett told his cabinet on Sunday the two secured “stable and good” understandings over Syria – an allusion to deconfliction efforts with Russian forces amid continued Israeli air strikes on suspected Iranian assets.</p> <p>They also discussed Iran’s nuclear programme, according to Bennett’s office.</p> <p>Assad recovered control of the Quneitra area from rebel forces in 2018.</p> <p>Syria affirmed its right to respond to the attacks, the foreign ministry source quoted by <span class="caps">SANA</span> said. </p> </div>