In Damascus, Iran FM claims Israel seeking to destabilize Syria with alleged strike

Amir-Abdollahian condemns hit on target in south of country; UK-based group says strike targeted weapons en route to Hezbollah terror group

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint conference with his Syrian counterpart, in the Syrian capital Damascus, on July 2, 2022. (Louai Beshara/AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint conference with his Syrian counterpart, in the Syrian capital Damascus, on July 2, 2022. (Louai Beshara/AFP)

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday condemned an alleged Israeli airstrike on Syria earlier in the day, making the comments shortly after his arrival in Damascus.

Amir-Abdollahian made a statement on the strike at the start of a visit to the Syrian capital, where he was expected to discuss mutual relations and regional affairs with top Syrian officials.

“We strongly condemn the actions of the Zionist regime and their encroachment on the territorial integrity of Syria,” said Amir-Abdollahian, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

“Along with the sanctions applied against the Syrian people and resistance, the Zionists seek to destabilize and increase the problems of the people of Syria,” he said.

Syria said Saturday that Israel carried out a rare daylight airstrike in the south of the country, injuring two people.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the alleged strike, in line with its policy of not generally commenting on specific actions in Syria.

Damage is seen to a structure following an airstrike attributed to Israel in al-Hamidiyah, Syria, July 2, 2022. (Social media)

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has said in the past that it targets bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria, as well as arms shipments believed to be bound for various proxies in the region.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based opposition group of unclear funding, said Saturday’s strike targeted weapons en route to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. The claim was not confirmed by any other organizations.

Quoting a military source, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said the missiles were launched Saturday by Israeli fighter jets over the Mediterranean Sea, west of the north Lebanon city of Tripoli, at the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus.

While alleged Israeli attacks in Syria typically take place under the cover of darkness, Saturday’s alleged strike was conducted at around 6:30 a.m., during daylight hours.

According to SANA, “poultry farms” were targeted in the airstrike, and two civilians were hurt. Their conditions were not immediately clear. Damage was also caused to the site.

Syria often claims targets of Israeli strikes as being non-military.

Video footage broadcast by SANA showed rubble at what it said was the site of the targeted facility.

Saturday’s strike marked the first such raid attributed to Israel under Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who entered the role on Friday morning.

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent months. Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly supported Ukraine while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on June 10, when the Damascus International Airport was targeted in a major attack and forced to be shuttered for two weeks, following accusations by Israel that Iran had been smuggling weaponry to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, via civilian flights to Syria.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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