Syria says Israeli airstrikes hit sites in Damascus area, two soldiers wounded

State news agency reports air defenses engage Israeli missiles over Syrian capital; extent of damage to targeted sites unclear

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

Illustrative: Missiles in the sky near the international airport, in Damascus, Syria, on January 21, 2019. (SANA, Syria's official news agency, via AP/ FIle)
Illustrative: Missiles in the sky near the international airport, in Damascus, Syria, on January 21, 2019. (SANA, Syria's official news agency, via AP/ FIle)

Israel launched airstrikes against unknown targets near the Syrian capital Damascus late Monday, leaving two soldiers wounded, Syria’s state news agency reported.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of not generally commenting on air raids in foreign countries.

The SANA news agency, citing a military source, said Syrian air defenses shot down several Israeli missiles over Damascus. Syria regularly claims to intercept Israeli missiles, though military analysts doubt such assertions.

Shortly before the Syrian media reports, Israelis near the northern border filmed Israeli Air Force jets flying overhead. SANA said the IAF jets launched their missiles from over the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

SANA said two soldiers were wounded as a result of the strikes. Their conditions were not immediately clear.

The state-run news agency added that damage had been caused to the sites that were struck. The extent of the damage was unclear.

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.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

But in a rare comment, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi confirmed last week that the IAF carried out an airstrike in early November on a convoy allegedly carrying Iranian arms near the Syria-Iraq border.

The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on December 11, when a Syrian military site was targeted. Hours later, the IDF dropped threatening pamphlets in southern Syria, warning Syrian soldiers to stop cooperating with the Iran-backed Hezbollah in the area.

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