Israeli airstrike wounds two soldiers in Damascus – Syrian state media
Attack causes material damage, sets off air defenses, report says, after two strikes on Aleppo airport in recent weeks
The Israeli Air Force allegedly carried out airstrikes in the Syrian capital Damascus early Thursday morning, according to Syria’s state-run media outlet.
The airstrike wounded two soldiers and caused material damage, the state news agency SANA reported.
Loud explosions were heard over Damascus at around 1:30 a.m., and Syrian air defenses were “confronting hostile targets,” SANA said, quoting an unidentified military official.
Footage circulating on social media showed smoke rising from sites in the al-Midan and adjacent Kafar Sousah neighborhoods of the capital.
The conditions of the two soldiers were not immediately clear. In recent years, numerous Syrian soldiers serving in air defense units have been killed in Israeli airstrikes.
There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of not generally commenting on air raids in Syria. Israel is believed to have carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.
حريق وتصاعد للدخان في حي الميدان السكني في العاصمة دمشق نتيجة العدوان الإسرائيلي، وتوجه سيارات الإسعاف إلى المنطقة. pic.twitter.com/k1P1muQ4wn
— SAM ???????? (@SAMSyria0) March 29, 2023
Israel has acknowledged, however, that it targets bases of Iran-allied groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Israel views Iran’s expansion throughout Syria as a continued threat to its national security, and has conducted strikes across a broad range of targets in an effort to curb Iran’s forces in the region.
Thursday’s reported airstrike came after two attacks in recent weeks against the Aleppo International Airport, also attributed to Israel. Those attacks temporarily closed the airport’s runway.
One of the strikes last week also targeted an underground munitions depot at the adjacent Nairab military airport, according to two unnamed “regional intelligence sources” who spoke to the Reuters news agency. The sources said the site was used to store missile-guided systems that had been delivered by Iranian cargo flights.
Also this month, Israel carried out a rare daytime strike against targets in northwestern Syria, injuring three soldiers and causing damage, SANA said.
In January, the Syrian army said Israel’s military fired missiles toward the Damascus international airport, putting it out of service temporarily and killing two soldiers. That attack came amid Israeli fears the Damascus airport was being used to funnel Iranian weaponry into the country.
AP contributed to this report.