Syrian state media is reporting that Israeli warplanes fired missiles at military positions in Homs and the outskirts of Damascus. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, both Israeli Air Force jets and naval vessels targeted at least ten Assad regime and Iranian military positions outside of the Syrian capital, including the headquarters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ 91st Brigade and a military research center. Other struck areas included Hezbollah terror compounds south of Damascus, and ammunition warehouses near Qara, just east of the Lebanese border. According to the Observatory, at least nine soldiers were killed, most of whom were identified as Iranians.
The Syrian military said it deployed air defense systems to confront the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace. Both the Observatory and the Syrian government-run SANA news outlet have attributed the strikes to Israel; but when asked about the incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman replied: “We don’t comment on such reports.”
Jerusalem has repeatedly warned that it will not permit Tehran to ship advanced weapons to its proxies in Syria and Lebanon, and has acknowledged hundreds of previous attacks against Iranian targets in the Arab Republic and those of allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The strikes have caused friction between Israel and Russia – which apart from Iran, is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s other major foreign backer.
The latest incident comes just after a trilateral summit of national security advisors of the U.S., Israel and Russia in Jerusalem. When asked for comment, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev called Israeli air strikes on Syria “undesirable.”
In related news, Russian President Vladimir Putin described his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on issues ranging from trade to disarmament at the G20 summit in Osaka as ‘very good’ and ‘pragmatic.’ When asked about cooperation on Syria, Putin said “we are in constant dialogue with the U.S. partners, we have a good contact on the ground to coordinate our actions and efforts to fight terrorism, there are still some trouble spots there. And I have informed the president about the latest actions which were agreed upon. So we did not have a need to go into detail there on the presidential level.”