Syria accuses Israel of striking army posts, airbase in Homs area

State media says several civilians killed and wounded in attack that damaged public, private property; IDF does not comment

Footage showing an alleged Israeli airstrike on the city of Homs, Syria, February 7, 2024. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Footage showing an alleged Israeli airstrike on the city of Homs, Syria, February 7, 2024. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israeli aircraft carried out strikes late Tuesday in Syria, state media reported, in the latest attack there attributed to Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency, citing a military source, said a number of civilians were killed and wounded in an alleged Israeli strike on the Homs area.

SANA said Israeli warplanes launched their missiles from an area north of Lebanon’s Tripoli, targeting several sites in Homs and the nearby area.

The source claimed Syrian air defenses shot down some of the Israeli missiles.

In addition to the casualties, SANA said damage was caused to both public and private property.

Local sources told Reuters that the attack targeted several Syrian army outposts and an airbase in the Homs area, with a Syrian military intelligence source familiar with the matter saying it targeted the Shayrat airbase.

The pro-government Sham FM radio station said the areas struck included the affluent al-Malaab neighborhood and Hamra Street. It said Israel also struck farmland in al-Waer, causing fires but no casualties there.

State television showed ambulances rushing to the scene of a strike, where wreckage and debris lay from a building that was hit. Reuters could not verify the location of the site.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reports.

Since the Gaza war erupted, Israel has stepped up a years-long campaign of airstrikes aimed at rolling back its arch-foe Iran’s presence in Syria, attacking both Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel across the Lebanese-Israeli border since October 8.

Israel rarely comments on its attacks in Syria and has not declared responsibility for the recent strikes there, aside from its responses to the firing of projectiles launched from Syria.

In one of the attacks, on January 20, five members of the Guards were killed, Iranian state media reported, including a general who ran intelligence for the Quds Force, which is responsible for the Guards’ overseas operations. The strike flattened a Damascus building.

File: People and rescuers gather in front of a building destroyed in a reported Israeli strike in Damascus on January 20, 2024 (Louai Beshara / AFP)

Another, on December 25 outside Damascus, killed a senior Guards adviser responsible for coordinating between Syria and Iran. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led prayers at his funeral.

Iranian forces came to Syria at Bashar Assad’s invitation, helping him to beat back rebels who had seized control of swathes of the country in the conflict that began in 2011.

Years after Assad and his allies won back most of Syria, Iran-backed groups still operate across large areas.

War erupted when the Iran-backed terror group Hamas launched a massive onslaught on October 7, killing some 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapping 253, mostly civilians, amid horrendous acts of brutality and sexual assault.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas, launching a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza aimed at destroying the group’s military and governance capabilities.

Iran, which supports Hamas both financially and militarily, has hailed the devastating October 7 attacks as a “success” but denied any direct involvement.

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