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Israeli air strikes on Syria leave several dead

Syria says two people killed in attacks south of Damascus but activist group puts death toll as high as eleven
The Israeli government rarely acknowledges or claims responsibility for its air strikes in Syria (File/AFP)

Suspected Israeli strikes on military targets south of the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday have killed several people, with conflicting death tolls being reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that the strikes had killed one civilian, three government troops and seven allied foreign fighters.

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The UK-based activist group, which had previously put the toll from the strikes at five, said Iran-backed paramilitary fighters were among those killed in the attack on positions southwest of Damascus and in the southern province of Daraa. 

Late on Monday, Syrian state news agency SANA said "the Zionist enemy carried out a strike... on some of our military positions south of Damascus and our air defences confronted them". 

"The Israeli attack led to two martyrs being killed and seven soldiers being wounded," the source said, adding the fire had came from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Nasrallah warning

Israel has carried out hundreds of raids in Syria since the country's civil war broke out in 2011, mainly against Hezbollah and Iranian forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as government forces.

The Israeli army rarely acknowledges the strikes, but said that on 3 August it had used fighter jets, attack helicopters and other warplanes to hit Syrian military targets in southern Syria.

Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday warned the group would kill an Israeli soldier for each of its fighters killed by Israel, after one of its combatants was killed in an Israeli strike in Syria on 20 July.

Nasrallah, who has threatened retaliation for the death before, said a "decisive decision" had been taken but that Hezbollah was "not in a hurry".

Drone brought down

Nasrallah's statement came after a series of incidents on the Lebanese-Israeli frontier.

Israel said on Wednesday it had launched air strikes against Hezbollah observation posts in Lebanon after shots were fired from across the border.

Hezbollah also announced the previous weekend it had brought down an Israeli drone flying over the border.

Hezbollah and Israel have fought several wars against each other, though a ceasefire has largely held since 2006 and a UN peacekeeping force patrols along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier.

Syria's war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions from their homes since it started with the repression of anti-government protests.