Five soldiers wounded in Israeli air strike near Syria's Homs

Five soldiers wounded in Israeli air strike near Syria's Homs
The Israeli strike on the city of Homs was Israel's third in recent days, following a deadly strike in the capital Damascus which killed at least two Iranian Revolutionary Guards
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The strikes reportedly targeted several military positions of Syrian regime and pro-Iran forces [Getty - archive]

Five Syrian soldiers were wounded in an Israeli air strike near the western city of Homs early Sunday, Syrian regime news agency SANA has reported.

The strike was Israel's third in Syria in recent days after Damascus was targeted on the nights of March 30 and 31, according to the agency.

"Today at around 00:35 (2135 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an air assault from northeast of Beirut targeting positions in the city of Homs and its province," SANA reported on Sunday, citing a military source.

Syria's air defence intercepted several missiles, but five soldiers were wounded and some material damage was reported, the source added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strikes targeted several military positions of Syrian regime forces and pro-Iran groups in Homs. The group said explosions rocked the city and a fire broke out in a research centre, with ambulances heading to the scene of the attack.

Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP that in addition to the five wounded Syrian soldiers, several Iranian-affiliated fighters in the research centre had been killed in the strikes.

Two officers from Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed in Israeli strikes in Syria on March 31, a website affiliated with the Guards said.

They were both identified as Meqdad Meqdani and Milad Heidari.

Israel has conducted seven air strikes in Syria this month, according to the Observatory, which has an extensive network of sources in the country.

Since the start of the conflict in Syria over ten years ago, Israel has conducted hundreds of air strikes against what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, as well as affiliates of the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out but has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to "extend its footprint" in the war-torn country.

Last month, an Israeli air strike killed 15 people in a Damascus district that houses regime security agencies, the Observatory said at the time.

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Last week, an Israeli missile strike destroyed a suspected arms depot used by Iran-backed militias at Syria's Aleppo airport, the war monitor said.

On March 7, three people were killed in an Israeli strike on the same airport that put it temporarily out of service. It reopened three days later. The airport in Syria's second city has been a major conduit for relief flights since a February 6 earthquake devastated swathes of southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria.

The Syrian conflict broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests. Some 500,000 people have been killed with millions more displaced, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.