An Israeli attack Wednesday reportedly killed two activists from the Hezbollah militant group and three members of a Syrian government militia in Quneitra, a province in southern Syria that borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The attack was carried out by Israeli aircraft, possibly an unmanned drone, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Details in reports from regional media and other sources varied. Two members of the National Defense Forces, an umbrella group of pro-Syrian government militia, were killed, the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar TV reported, according to Reuters. But a different Lebanese channel that some have said also has ties to Hezbollah, Al Mayadeen TV, reported that three members of the militia had been killed. The two Hezbollah activists were later reportedly killed, Haaretz said, citing the German news agency DPA. The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reports.
Israeli strike on Syrian town of Quneitra kills 5 pro-regime forces, says AFP citing London-based Syrian Observatory pic.twitter.com/rTud4lVR7Y
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“An Israeli warplane” targeted “a car carrying five members of Hezbollah and the people’s committees,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a watchdog group based in Britain, said, with the people’s committees referring to the National Defense Forces. The attack occurred on the edges of Hader, a village that borders the Golan Heights.
"Israeli planes have been flying in the skies of Quneitra and the western Deraa countryside since this morning," Abu Ghiath al-Shami, a spokesman for Alwiyat Seif al-Sham, a local Syrian rebel group, said.
The National Defense Forces consist of a number of pro-government paramilitary groups. They often establish a presence in areas where state military forces are weak or do not exist. Militants from Hezbollah, a Shiite group based in Lebanon, have been fighting on the side of the Syrian military in the country’s ongoing civil war, which began in 2011.