Syria says 4 soldiers killed, 3 hurt in Israeli strike near Damascus

Attack would be the 3rd in Russia-dominated airspace in under a month despite tensions over Ukraine; state media says surface-to-surface missiles launched from northern Israel

Footage released by Syrian state media on April 27, 2022, claims to show Syrian air defenses firing at an Israeli attack near Damascus. (Screenshot)
Footage released by Syrian state media on April 27, 2022, claims to show Syrian air defenses firing at an Israeli attack near Damascus. (Screenshot)

Four Syrian soldiers were killed and three were hurt in an Israeli strike in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning near the capital Damascus, Syria’s state media said.

It was the third alleged Israeli attack in Syria this month.

The state-run broadcaster said Syrian air defenses responded to the Israeli attack. “Our air defenses confronted an Israeli aggression over the outskirts of Damascus,” the SANA news agency said.

Syrian state media quoted an unidentified Syrian military official as saying surface-to-surface missiles were fired from northern Israel at military positions near Damascus.

The official claimed most of the Israeli missiles were shot down and that the Syrian military was still looking into the “results of the aggression.”

The Syrian military claims to shoot down incoming missiles after nearly every alleged Israeli strike, which Israeli military officials and civilian defense analysts largely dismiss as empty boasts.

SANA released a video claiming to show an air defense missile streaking through the night sky.

In a later statement, the broadcaster said four soldiers were killed, three were hurt, and “some material losses” were caused.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-Syrian opposition organization, claimed the strikes killed nine, including a fifth Syrian soldier and another four Iran-backed fighters. The claim could not be verified and was not reported by other sources in Syria. The group has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of inflating casualty numbers, as well as inventing them wholesale.

SOHR also claimed at least five separate sites — an ammunition depot and several positions linked to Iran’s military presence in Syria — were targeted in the latest Israeli raid.

Syria reported two other Israeli attacks near Damascus earlier this month, including a rare daytime airstrike.

After the alleged daytime attack, local media reported explosions near the town of Masyaf, which is thought to be used as a base for Iranian forces and pro-Iranian militias and has been repeatedly targeted in recent years in attacks attributed to Israel.

In early March, Israeli strikes near Damascus killed two officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The Guards vowed to avenge the killings and subsequently launched strikes on what they claimed was an Israeli “strategic center” in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

As a rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has acknowledged 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 Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine.

Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly supported Ukraine. However, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has avoided criticizing Russia directly, seeking to maintain Israeli its freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

Separately, an Israeli military drone crashed in Syria on Tuesday. The Israeli Defense Forces said the incident was being investigated. No sensitive information was lost due to the crash and there was no risk of intelligence being taken from the device, the army said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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