Bombs reportedly landed inside the city of Deir ez-Zor, and were reported nearby in the area of the Deir ez-Zor Airport, long home to a Syrian military garrison. Israel will work on easing the danger of the possible return to the bad deal, they said.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Israel had struck targets in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, quoting a military source as saying that the strike occurred just after 1 a.m. but providing no further details.
The daily said Israeli experts, most of whom are former representatives of the Israeli army and intelligence agencies, recommended that Israel be prepared for such a development, adding that pro-Iranian forces will be able to significantly increase the accuracy of their attacks against Israeli positions in 2021.
The Associated Press cited a senior USA intelligence official with knowledge of the attacks as saying the strikes targeted warehouses being used to store and stage Iranian weapons, and that they were done with intelligence provided by the United States.
The warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that support Iran's nuclear program, the official said.
The death toll of the strikes was not immediately clear.
The strikes also come amid intensifying low-altitude Israeli warplane missions in Lebanese skies that have caused jitters among residents and prompted Lebanon to file an urgent complaint to the United Nations about the violations of its airspace. "We're active defensively, politically, and economically", he said.
"They burnt Iranian positions in Deir el-Zour", said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria's eastern Deir el-Zour province who runs an activist collective that reports on news in the border area.
"The warehouses have a control and telecommunications building, and reconnaissance aircraft headquarters".
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of sources on the ground, reported that 18 Israeli strikes had targeted military storage facilities and a base on the outskirts of Deir al-Zour, military installations in Albu Kamal, and warehouses outside Mayadin. If confirmed, it would make it one of the deadliest Israeli strikes in Syria over the past 10 years.
The organization said these were the deadliest airstrikes by Israel since June 2019, when the Israeli military allegedly conducted raids in the same area.
Israel has been stepping up strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, part of aggressive posture adopted before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week in what could bring a reassessment of Trump's "maximum pressure" policy on Iran. The Observatory has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of inflating casualty numbers, as well as inventing them wholesale.
The IDF has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 against moves by Iran to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, game-changing weapons to terrorist groups in the region, principally Hezbollah.