A series of Israeli airstrikes hit Iranian targets on Sunday close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast and areas near the ancestral home region of the Syrian president.
According to the Syrian army, three servicemen were killed and three were wounded in two simultaneous attacks south of the province of Tartous, and another on the northeastern outskirts of capital Damascus.
Two Syrian military defectors familiar with the region said that the strikes on the capital hit outposts run by Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group. An Iranian base near the village of Abu Afsa, south of the port city of Tartous was targeted alongside an air defense and radar station nearby, a source said on condition of anonymity.
Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes mostly since 2017 against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces have deployed over the last decade to support Assad in Syria's war, but has mostly avoided hitting the coastal provinces where Russia's main military assets are concentrated.
Russian forces in Syria normally turn a blind eye to Israeli airstrikes against suspected Iranian-sponsored deployments and arms transfers.
Tartus, along with the Khmeimim air base in the nearby province of Latakia, are the main Russian bases in the country, which are reportedly being taken over by Iran forces and Hezbollah as Russia has begun pulling out its troops from Syria to bolster forces in Ukraine.