(MEMO) — Saudi fighter jets joined Israeli ones in a recent campaign to strike pro-Iran Shia militias on the Syria-Iraq border, an unnamed western source told the Independent newspaper’s Arabic site.
“Saudi fighter jets have been spotted along with other fighter jets that have attacked facilities and positions belonging to Iranian militias,” the source told Independent Arabia, referring to the airstrikes on the Iranian-backed militias in the Albukamal area of eastern Syria on Monday night. There were reportedly four airstrikes that night, in which five to 16 Iraqi militants were killed.
It is believed that the attacks conducted by Saudi and Israeli jets targeted positions belonging to the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and according to the source, Iran was set to use the sites to hit other targets following the attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities on Saturday.
The source added that the Global Coalition Against Daesh had begun targeting other groups including the Quds Force and others which have ties with Iran in the Levant. Saudi sources later denied the claims made by the Western source.
In recent years, and particularly over the past few months, airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias and the military sites used by them have increased sharply, and have been primarily conducted by Israel. This has particularly been the case in relation to the Syrian conflict, in which Iran has been accused by Israel and the United States (US) of using its support and alliance with the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad to transport arms and deploy its military advisers and proxies throughout the region, in order to exert its influence.
The justification for the airstrikes has been linked back to alleged plans revealed in 2017, in which Iran was reported to be establishing a land corridor extending across Iraq and Syria and towards Lebanon, in which arms, military hardware, militia fighters, and personnel could be easily transported.
The revelation of Saudi Arabia’s military involvement and its cooperation with Israel’s air force, however, is a new aspect in the two countries’ campaign to counter Iranian influence. The revelations come at a time of increased public links between Israel and Saudi Arabia who have no official diplomatic ties.
The kingdom’s de facto ruler has been seen to be cosying up to Western states and Israel to ensure his continued reign.