Syria’s air defence has responded to an ‘Israeli attack’ near Damascus, state news agency SANA said early Thursday, reports BSS/AFP. ‘Our air defences confronted an Israeli attack’ west of the capital, said SANA, adding that the attack was carried out from ‘occupied Syrian’ airspace in the Golan heights.
They ‘were able to shoot down most of the enemy missiles before they reached their targets’, SANA said. AFP correspondents in several districts of Damascus heard loud explosions around 1:15 am (2315 GMT). State television broadcast images showing explosions in the sky.
SANA specified that the Israeli strikes targeted the al-Kiswah area– already targeted several times in the past — but also Marj al-Sultan and Jisr Baghdad. At least three government and Iranian positions near Damascus and west of the capital had been targeted, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which said a fire broke out in one of the areas.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment.
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out many raids against Syrian government forces and their allies, Iran and Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah group, enemies of the Jewish state. In mid-January, Damascus accused the Israeli air force of carrying out an attack on the T4 military airport in central Syria. The same base has been targeted by Israeli raids on several occasions.
Israel regularly insists that it will not let Syria become a bridgehead for Tehran. In November, the Israeli army claimed responsibility for a series of air strikes against government military sites and Iranian forces that killed 23 people including 16 foreigners, according to SOHR.
Sparked by the brutal government suppression of pro-democracy protests, the conflict in Syria has been complicated by the involvement of international powers. It has left more than 380,000 people dead, including over 115,000 civilians.