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Syria says Israeli airstrikes near Damascus kill 3 soldiers, wound 7

Damage reported in suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab, near Syrian capital

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

A still from a video purporting to show Syrian air defenses intercepting an Israeli missile, on July 22, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter)
A still from a video purporting to show Syrian air defenses intercepting an Israeli missile, on July 22, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Israeli fighter jets launched a series of airstrikes on areas near the Syrian capital Damascus shortly after midnight on Friday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syria’s official state media reported.

Heavy explosions were heard over both the Syrian capital and northern Israel, according to local reports.

The state-run broadcaster SANA, citing a military source, said most of the missiles launched from over the Golan Heights were intercepted.

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

The military source also said damage was caused to the sites that were hit, without elaborating on the extent or the nature of the targets.

A site in the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab was damaged, according to local media reports and images circulated on social media.

SANA reported the casualties in the airstrikes without specifying the ranks and identities of the killed and wounded.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, which does not comment on individual strikes, except for those in retaliation to specific attacks against Israel.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in the last decade, mostly to stymie attempts by Iranian forces to transfer weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group, or establish a foothold on Israel’s northern frontier.

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

Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it increasingly supports Ukraine, while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on July 6, when a Syrian soldier was reportedly killed in an Israeli drone strike near the border with Israel.

Before that, on July 2, Israel reportedly attacked a site in the town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus, close to the border with Lebanon.

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