Syria says ‘hostile target’ shot down near Iran-linked base

Syria says ‘hostile target’ shot down near Iran-linked base

Damascus says attack targeted Masyaf area in western Homs, which has been repeatedly bombed in sorties attributed to Israel

File: Satellite image of CERS facility near Masyaf (screen capture: Google Earth)
File: Satellite image of CERS facility near Masyaf (screen capture: Google Earth)

Syria claimed it shot down a missile shot from northern Syria toward an area that in the past has been targeted by reported Israeli airstrikes.

Syria’s Sana state news agency said air defenses downed a “hostile target” in the area of Masyaf, outside of Homs.

It said the target had originated in northern Lebanon.

According to reports in Syria, multiple explosions were heard in the area as air defenses were activated against at least one missile.

Last month, an Israeli intelligence firm reported that advanced S-300 Russian air defense batteries had become operational around Masyaf, in western Homs.

Israel is thought to have shifted to launching missiles from Lebanon into Syria to avoid Syrian air defenses in recent months.

There was no response from the Israel Defense Forces, which rarely comments on reported strikes.

The Sanaa report did not blame Israel for the attack, but mentioned that Israeli and American attacks in the area had been thwarted in the past.

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.

In July last year, Israeli jets reportedly targeted a missile production facility in Masyaf, where a leading Syrian chemical weapons and missile scientist was killed earlier that month in a car bombing attributed to Israel.

Western officials have long associated the Scientific Studies and Research Center near Masyaf, known as CERS, with the manufacture of chemical arms.

The Israeli military has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, on targets linked to Iran, which is backing President Bashar Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war.

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