Israeli missiles target empty warehouse near Damascus, Syria says

Syrian state media reports no injuries in attack near capital, amid an uptick in alleged Israeli airstrikes in recent weeks

An explosion is seen during a reported Israeli strike near the Syrian city of Homs on November 8, 2021. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Illustrative: An explosion is seen during a reported Israeli strike near the Syrian city of Homs on November 8, 2021. (Screen capture: Twitter)

The Israeli military fired missiles at a target near the Syrian capital Damascus early Wednesday, Syrian state media reported.

Israeli forces in the Golan Heights fired two surface-to-surface missiles at an empty warehouse south of the city at around 12:45 a.m., according to Syrian state media outlet SANA.

The report said there were no casualties and claimed Syrian defenses downed one of the Israeli missiles. The Syrian military claims to shoot down incoming missiles after nearly every alleged Israeli strike, which Israeli military officials and civilian defense analysts largely dismiss as empty boasts.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of ambiguity regarding its specific activities in Syria.

There has been an uptick in the number of strikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in recent weeks, including a rare early evening attack in the area of Homs last week.

Wednesday’s predawn attack was fourth attributed to Israel in the past month.

Several of these were allegedly conducted with surface-to-surface missiles, instead of airstrikes with fighter jets, as part of an apparent arrangement with Moscow, as the Russian-made air defenses being used by Syria have struggled to counter the Israeli air raids, embarrassing Russia.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett referred to Israel’s overall campaign against Iran and its proxies in Syria, while visiting an IDF exercise in northern Israel.

“We are dealing with Iran and its proxies, in Lebanon and Syria. No matter what happens between Iran and the world powers — and we are certainly concerned about the fact that there is insufficient severity in dealing with Iranian violations — Israel will protect itself with its own forces,” Bennett said, referring to alleged attacks by Iran that went unanswered by the United States.

Israeli officials have expressed increasing concern over the proliferation of Iranian-made surface-to-air missile systems in Syria, as well as the Syrian military’s improved air defense capabilities, which have made it more difficult for the IDF to operate over Syria.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria over the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

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