Israel hits military infrastructure in Syria

Attack puts Syrian Aleppo airport out of service, five hurt

Published : 30 Oct 2023 07:54 PM

Israel’s army said Monday it carried out air strikes on military infrastructure inside Syria as fears grow that its war against Hamas could spur a broader regional conflict.

“A short time ago, an IDF fighter jet attacked the launchers” from where overnight attacks originated toward Israeli territory, the military said, indicating it hit “military infrastructure in Syrian territory.”

The army did not provide more details, but public broadcaster Kan News said the strikes hit near the southern city of Daraa.

Syria’s defense ministry said Monday Israel struck at around 1:35 am (2235 GMT) “from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting two positions of our armed forces in the Daraa countryside, causing some material losses.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Israel targeted “an artillery battalion” in Daraa province, in response to shelling on the nearby occupied Golan Heights.

The Britain-based Observatory, which has a vast network of sources in Syria, said Hezbollah-linked Syrian and Palestinian groups were behind rocket attacks from the Daraa area.

Concerns are growing about the regional fallout from Israel’s war on Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Since the fighting began, there has been a string of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria as well as increasing exchanges of fire along the Israel-Lebanon border between the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia and Israeli forces.

Late Sunday, the Israeli military said it was striking “Hezbollah terrorist targets in Lebanon” in response to rocket fire.

Cross-border exchanges with Hezbollah have become an almost daily occurrence since October 7, when Hamas militants stormed over the Gaza border into southern Israel, killing some 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seizing nearly 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Since then, Israel has responded with an unrelenting bombardment of Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 8,000 people, nearly half of them children.

Violence on the Israel-Lebanon border has killed at least 62 people in Lebanon according to an AFP tally — 47 of them Hezbollah fighters but also including four civilians, one a Reuters journalist.

Israeli officials have reported at least four deaths, including one civilian.

Nearly 29,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon due to the skirmishes, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Reuters adds from Beirut: Israeli strikes targeted the airport of Syria’s government-held city of Aleppo injuring five people on Saturday, a war monitor said, days after a similar strike hit Aleppo and Damascus airports.

Syria’s defense ministry also confirmed the strikes after midnight on Sunday, saying the airport has been rendered temporarily out of service.

“The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, which led to material damage to the airport and it being out of service,” the ministry added.

At approximately 11:35 pm... the Israeli enemy carried out an air strike from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea... targeting Aleppo International Airport, causing material damage to the airport and putting it out of service,” the ministry said in a statement.

Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed the strikes without specifying whether the five injured were civilians.

“The ministry lambasted Israel, saying that the attack “confirms the criminal approach of the Israeli occupation,” accusing it of “crimes against the Palestinian people.”

On Thursday, Israeli strikes knocked Syria’s two main airports of Damascus and Aleppo out of service, in the first such attack since the Hamas assault on Israel a week ago triggered fierce fighting.

Saturday’s strikes hit the airport “hours after it went back into service, knocking it out of service again,” said the British-based monitor, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Earlier on Saturday, Israel shelled Syria after air raid sirens sounded in settlements on the annexed Golan Heights, the army said.

The Observatory said Israel retaliated after Palestinian factions working with Hezbollah launched a rocket from southern Syria toward the occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli strikes have repeatedly caused the grounding of flights at the airports in the capital Damascus and northern city Aleppo, both of which are controlled by the government of war-torn Syria.

During more than a decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbor, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes it carries out on Syria, but it has repeatedly said it would not allow its arch-foe Iran, which supports Assad’s government, to expand its footprint there.

The strikes on Aleppo were the second such attack on Syrian airports after Hamas’s surprise October 7 attack from Gaza ignited a war that has killed more than 1,300 people in Israel.

In Gaza, health officials said more than 2,200 people had been killed. As on the Israeli side, most of them were civilians.