Photo: Flash90, Reuters

Syria: IDF fired missile barrage over Damascus

State media in Syria reported “an aerial aggression” by “the Israeli enemy” at 3:05 this morning.

By Erin Viner

Syrian air defenses intercepted an Israeli missile barrage targeting the eastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, reported the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) early on Monday, citing a military source.

Aerial defense systems operated by the Syrian Armed Forces (SAF) “repelled an Israeli missile aggression from the direction of Riyaq, east of Beirut, which targeted some points in the vicinity of Damascus, and downed some of the hostile missiles,” reported SANA, adding that the source said the attacks “caused some material damage.”

2 Syrian military defectors said the strikes targeted rugged areas northeast of Damascus near the town of Qutayfah, where the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah terror group has established a significant military presence and a weapons depot.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that loud explosions were heard north-east of Damascus in the Al-Qalamoon area of the Rif Dimashq Province.

At least 5 additional strikes took place near Qutayfah, said the SOHR, followed by fires at “military posts and warehouses of Lebanese Hezbollah in the vicinity of the city, while ambulances rushed to the site. It is worth noting that the area hosts weapons and ammunition warehouses belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias.”

While no casualties were officially reported in the attack, unofficial sources told the SOHR that there had been fatalities in the raid.

Israel has stepped up attacks in recent years on targets in neighboring Syria operated by Iran and its proxy militias, where the Tehran-backed armed groups led by Hezbollah have become increasingly entrenched after deploying to the Arab Republic to help President Bashar al-Assad fight opposition rebels in the Civil War that broke out in 2011.

According to SOHR records, Israel hit 71 targets in Syria in 29 separate missions in 2021, killing 125 fighters identified as “Syrian soldiers allied with Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias controlled by Iran.” The SOHR report listed 39 such attacks in 2020.

The latest incident comes just one week after Russian and SAF military jets began joint patrols along Syria’s borders, including Israel’s northern frontier.

The IDF declined requests for comment.