Satellite images released by an Israeli firm on Tuesday appeared to show extensive damage at Damascus International Airport as a result of Israeli airstrikes on Sunday and early Monday.
On Sunday, Israel reportedly conducted a rare daylight missile attack on Iranian targets in Syria. In response, Iran fired a surface-to-surface missile at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Mount Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Hours later, in the predawn hours of Monday morning, the Israel Air Force launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets near Damascus and on the Syrian air defense batteries that fired upon the attacking Israeli fighter jets, the army said.
The photographs published by ImageSat on Tuesday indicated storehouses and radar systems at the Syrian airport were destroyed in the strikes.
— ImageSat Intl. (@ImageSatIntl) January 22, 2019
Twenty-one people were killed in the Israeli raids in Syria early on Monday, 12 of them Iranian fighters, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor said earlier on Tuesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights initially reported the death toll from the Israeli strikes to be 11. But on Tuesday, the war monitor said the number had risen to 21, making it one of the deadliest attacks by Israel in Syria.
According to SOHR, 12 of those killed were members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; six were Syrian military fighters; and the other three were other non-Syrian nationals.
The IDF said Monday that Iranian troops in Syria launched their missile at the Golan in a “premeditated” attack aimed at deterring Israel from conducting airstrikes against the Islamic Republic’s troops and proxies in Syria.
Israeli troops on Monday were put on high alert in the north.
Military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said the three response sorties destroyed a number of Iranian intelligence sites, training bases and weapons caches connected to the Quds Force, the expeditionary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
According to Conricus, one of the targets of the raids was “the main storage hub for Quds Force.”
On Monday morning, the IDF also released video footage of its airstrikes on Syrian air defenses, including on social media.
תיעוד מתוך תקיפת חלק מסוללות ההגנה האווירית הסוריות לאחר שביצעו ירי הלילה: pic.twitter.com/E6bhJ9bDw7
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) January 21, 2019
According to Conricus, the Iranian retaliatory strike aimed at the northern Golan was “not a spur-of-the-moment” response, but had been planned months in advance, based on intelligence collected by the IDF.
“We understand that the Iranians are trying to change the context and deter us from our policy and our strategy of fighting Iranian troops in Syria,” Conricus said. “They thought they could change the rules of engagement. Our response was a rather clear one, with a message to Iran and Syria that our policies have not changed.”