One of the targets bombed in Tuesday’s alleged Israeli strike near Damascus was an Iranian weapons depot, reports of the incident suggest.
Syrian state media reported that the country’s air defenses responded to “an Israeli missile attack” south of the capital. The reports claimed that Israeli warplanes attacked several targets in the region, and cited military sources as saying that the strike had caused massive damage to the area.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israeli strikes targeted sites in the suburb of al-Kiswah, south of Damascus, and near the Damascus International Airport, southeast of the city.
Arab media reports on the incident said that one of the targets was a building in the heart of Damascus, believed to house weapons Iran had smuggled into the country.
The Syrian Capital Voice website said that the strike was carried out in a single wave, resulting in the complete destruction of the building. However, the opposition-affiliated Halab Today TV said that a warehouse near the Damascus airport was also hit.
There were conflicting reports on casualties in the strike, with most suggesting at least five pro-Iranian militias had been killed and at least six other people were injured.
Syrian state media made no mention of casualties in its reports of the incident.
Israeli sources told Israel Hayom that the target was most likely a facility linked to Iran’s efforts to assist Hezbollah – its largest proxy in the Middle East, which is based in neighboring Lebanon – in its efforts to develop precision-guided missiles.
The defense establishment has made thwarting these efforts a priority as any such capability in the terrorist group’s hands would be a regional game-changer.
Hezbollah is believed to be in possession of as many as 150,000 rockets and missiles, the ranges of which covers all of Israel. This arsenal includes anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles and anti-tank missiles, which its operatives are skilled at using.
As a matter of policy, the IDF does not comment on Arab media reports alleging Israeli strikes in the region. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday, “Israel is acting against the head of the octopus of terrorism and not just against its arms.”
Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee, Bennett reiterated, “The days of immunity, in which Iran attacks Israel and spreads terrorism through its proxies in the region, but remains untouched – those days are over. We operate, at any time and place, and will continue to do so.”
Also on Tuesday, Syria’s Defense Ministry announced a joint air force drill with Russian troops.
Russia stepped into the Syrian fray in September 2015 to shore up the regime of President Bashar Assad in the 11-year conflict that has torn Syria apart, left over a million people dead, and displaced over 13 million Syrians.
The ministry said two Russian SU-35 fighter jets and six Syrian MiG-23 and MiG-29 aircraft simulated facing “hostile” warplanes and drones. Syrian pilots dealt with them with cover and support from the Russian warplanes, it said.
“All elusive targets were monitored and completely destroyed while aerial targets were hit at night for the first time,” the Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that as part of Tuesday’s drill, Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out joint patrols along the Golan Heights and other parts of southern Syria.
Source » israelhayom