Syria accuses Israel of launching airstrike, says two civilians hurt

Footage shows missiles flying through air, prolonged secondary explosions near Masyaf, an area thought to be used by Iranian forces that’s been repeatedly targeted in recent years

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

A cloud of smoke rises after an alleged airstrike near the Syrian city of Masyaf, on August 25, 2022. (Social media)
A cloud of smoke rises after an alleged airstrike near the Syrian city of Masyaf, on August 25, 2022. (Social media)

Israel carried out airstrikes in northwestern Syria on Thursday evening, injuring two civilians, the Syrian state-run news agency SANA claimed.

According to SANA, Israeli jets launched their missiles from over the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of the port city of Tartus, targeting several sites in the Hama province.

In addition to the two injured civilians, the news agency said damage was caused to the sites that were hit, and that there were fires in the area as a result.

SANA said air defenses were activated and intercepted some of the Israeli missiles over the province. Syria regularly claims to intercept Israeli missiles, though military analysts doubt such assertions.

Local reports said explosions were seen near the city of Masyaf and nearby areas in the west of the government-controlled province.

Footage published on social media showed what appeared to be failed Syrian air defense missiles flying through the air and exploding in the area.

Other photos and videos showed large plumes of smoke and prolonged secondary explosions at the sites that were targeted.

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. It says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups.

The area around Masyaf, which is thought to be used as a base for Iranian forces and pro-Iranian militias, has been repeatedly targeted in recent years in attacks widely attributed to Israel.

The area is also home to a facility belonging to the Scientific Studies and Research Center, known as CERS, which itself has been struck several times in the past.

Western officials have long associated CERS with the manufacture of chemical arms. According to the United States, sarin gas was developed at that center, a charge denied by Syrian authorities.

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent months.

Israel has found itself at odds with Russia, as the Jewish state increasingly supports Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, while still seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on August 14, when three Syrian soldiers were killed after an alleged Iranian site near the Russian naval base in Tartus was hit.

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