No injuries or damage at site of Israeli strikes in Syria — report

Britain-based Syrian war monitor says regime air defenses intercepted incoming attacks early Thursday on Hezbollah-linked sites near Homs and Quneitra

A fireball lights up the night sky near Damascus during an attack on a target near the capital on February 13, 2020. (Screen capture: Al-Ikhbariyah Syria TV)
Illustrative. A fireball lights up the night sky near Damascus during an attack on a target near the capital on February 13, 2020. (Screen capture: Al-Ikhbariyah Syria TV)

A series of Israeli airstrikes targeted four Hezbollah-linked sites in central and southern Syria early Thursday, but apparently failed to hit their mark, according to a Britain-based Syrian war monitor.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Israeli attack targeted two military airports near the city of Homs in western-central Syria — al-Dabaa and al-Shayrat — as well as two locations in the area of Quneitra, across from Israel’s Golan Heights.

“Regime anti-aircraft systems tried to intercept the missiles. The Syrian Observatory has not documented human or material losses to date,” the war monitor said.

In the predawn hours of Thursday morning, the state-run SANA news agency said “our air defense confronted an Israeli missile attack in the southwest of Quneitra province” in the south and also an area in the center of the country.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

If the Syrian military’s air defenses indeed thwarted the alleged Israeli attack, it would represent one of the few cases in which dictator Bashar Assad’s regime succeeding in doing so, despite routinely and falsely claiming to have intercepted Israeli missiles.

Last week, the Israel Defense Forces bombed a Syrian vehicle in Quneitra that the military said was used in an attempted sniper attack on Israeli troops near the Golan border in the latest in a series of recent cross-border clashes in the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the vehicle belonged to members of a militia loyal to Syrian dictator Assad. Hebrew-language media named the victim as Imad Tawil, a local resident who had been recruited by Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and served as a local commander for the organization. The reports said Tawil was apparently involved in setting up “terror infrastructure” that could be used to launch attacks along the border.

Shortly after the drone strike on the vehicle, Israeli aircraft attacked Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights as tensions rose along the border.

A member of the Syrian security forces walks near the border post with Israel in the Syrian town of Quneitra in the Golan Heights on March 26, 2019. (Louai Beshara/AFP)

Though Israeli officials generally refrain from taking responsibility for specific strikes in Syria, they have acknowledged conducting hundreds to thousands of raids in the country since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

These have overwhelmingly been directed against Iran and its proxies, notably the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, but the IDF has also carried out strikes on Syrian air defenses when those batteries have fired at Israeli jets.

Israel has in the past accused Iran of attempting to set up rocket launching crews and other “terror infrastructure” in the Syrian Golan Heights, to be used  against Israel.

An agreement with Russia was supposed to push Iranian and Tehran-backed militias, including Hezbollah, dozens of kilometers away from the border.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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