Report: Israel targeted secret Hezbollah drone site in Syria strike this week

Citing unnamed sources, al-Arabiya says Israeli jets hit research and development building at al-Qusayr air base late Sunday, in a previously unreported strike

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Illustrative: Smoke billows following an alleged Israeli airstrike south of Damascus, Syria, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)
Illustrative: Smoke billows following an alleged Israeli airstrike south of Damascus, Syria, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)

The Israeli Air Force struck a clandestine drone research and development site belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group in Syria earlier this week, according to a Thursday report by the Saudi-funded al-Arabiya network and its sister channel al-Hadath.

Citing unnamed sources, al-Arabiya said Israeli jets struck the Hezbollah site at the al-Qusayr military air base, close to the border with Lebanon, and the northwestern Syrian city of Homs overnight between Sunday and Monday. The strike was not previously reported.

The report said the site belonged to Hezbollah’s 127th unit, which has previously been reported to be responsible for the research, development, and maintenance of UAVs operated by the Iran-backed terror group in Syria.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of not generally commenting on air raids in foreign countries.

Separately, Syria accused Israel of launching strikes against sites near the Syrian capital Damascus late Monday, leaving two soldiers wounded.

The second strike, according to al-Arabiya, also targeted an Iranian control center in Damascus. It cited the same unnamed sources.

Al-Hadath published images reportedly showing the two sites that were struck by the IAF in al-Qusayr and Damascus.

As a rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

In a rare comment, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi confirmed last week that the IAF carried out an airstrike in early November on a convoy allegedly carrying Iranian arms near the Syria-Iraq border.

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