At least three people were killed in alleged Israeli strikes between Sayyida Zainab and Aqraba on December 21-22, 2019. Sources are conflicted as to whether those killed were militants or civilians.
Local sources reported that Israeli missiles – either launched from a ship in the Mediterranean or via an airstrike – landed on the Sayyeda Zainab area of rural Damascus on December 21st-22nd, 2019, killing General ‘Haj Ali’, who was believed to be a leader in the ranks of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and his entire family. The Iranian Fars News Agency, however, denied reports that General Haj Ali had been killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “Israeli missile strikes south of the capital Damascus, killed at least three people of non-Syrian nationalities, where they are likely to be Iranians who were killed by fall of a rocket on the area between Sayyida Zainab and Aqraba south of the capital Damascus yesterday evening, and information about more casualties were reported.” However, this source did not specify if those killed were militants or civilians.
The Times of Israel also identified three people killed in the strikes, referring to them as “non-Syrian fighters”.
According to Step News, “The local (Ein Al Furat) network, which specializes in Iranian affairs in Syria, also mentioned that the targeting resulted in the killing of General Haj Ali, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia, and his entire family, as a result of a missile from the Israeli warship that targeted his house in Al Sayyeda Zainab neighbourhood in Damascus countryside.”
However, Sputnik Arabic wrote that the Iranian press agency Fars News had denied claims that General Haj Ali had been killed in strikes: “General Ali Hajizadeh is in good situation, and the news that he was killed is pure lies. The news that Haji Zadeh was killed in an Israeli raid on Syria yesterday is a rumour that was reported by some malicious Arab media, and it was re-published on social media via opposition channels.”
Fars News furthermore posted photos that were allegedly showing General Ali Haj attending Friday prayers on December 27th, 2019. Many articles have quoted General Hajizadeh since the alleged incident, including a profile done by the Middle East Eye that refers to him as the “Iran’s drone mastermind” and “the new Soleimani”.
There was no immediate comment from Israel, who told Fox News they don’t comment on foreign media reports of airstrikes.
The incident occured between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am local time.
Sources (24) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the area between Sat Zaynab (السيدة زينب) and Aqriba (عقربا), in the southern countryside of Damascus (دمشق). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates between these two points are: 33.437222, 36.361828.