DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Unknown gunmen killed nine Syrian policemen on Monday in a southern village close to the border with Jordan, state media and an opposition war monitor said.
The attack occurred in the province of Daraa where Syria’s anti-government uprising began in March 2011 before morphing into a civil war that has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced half the country’s population.
Daraa has become rife with assassinations and attacks targeting government troops who retook the area from rebels in July 2018.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said that the nine policemen were killed in the village of Muzayreeb by armed gunmen who attacked them while they were on duty. It listed the names of the dead policemen without giving further details.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that a group of unknown gunmen kidnapped the nine policemen before shooting them dead and leaving their bodies in one of the village’s streets.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Sleeper cells of the Islamic State group have been recently increasing their attacks in eastern Syria. Last month IS claimed responsibility for the killing of two Syrian army officers in the same province.
Separately, SANA reported an Israeli airstrike that targeted military depots in the region of Safira south of Aleppo city Monday night. It said Syrian air defenses confronted the enemy missiles, adding that damage from the Israeli “aggression” was being assessed.
There have recently been several reports of suspected Israeli strikes inside Syria, the last a week ago, when the Syrian military and state media said Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing three civilians.
Israeli rarely comments on such reports, although it has acknowledged carrying out airstrikes inside Syria on numerous occasions in the course of Syria’s nine-year conflict, saying it was going after Iranian military targets in the country.