Syria says soldier injured in a rare daytime Israeli strike near Damascus

State media claims missiles shot down but damage still caused in alleged attack, the second within days near the capital

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

A trail of smoke is reportedly seen over the Syrian capital Damascus amid an alleged Israeli airstrike, October 24, 2022. (Social media)
A trail of smoke is reportedly seen over the Syrian capital Damascus amid an alleged Israeli airstrike, October 24, 2022. (Social media)

Israel carried out a rare daylight strike against targets near the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday afternoon, Syria’s state-run broadcaster SANA said, injuring one soldier.

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

The strike came just days after Israeli missiles allegedly targeted areas near Damascus late Friday, the first reported Israeli airstrike on the country in over a month.

SANA, citing a military source, claimed Syrian air defenses managed to intercept several of the Israeli missiles in Monday’s strike. Syria regularly claims to intercept Israeli missiles, though military analysts doubt such assertions.

The report did not elaborate on the soldier’s condition or the extent of the damage caused to the targeted sites.

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.

A view of the Damascus skyline in 2012 (AP Photo, File)

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.

While alleged Israeli attacks in Syria typically take place under the cover of darkness, Monday’s strike was reportedly conducted at around 2 p.m., according to SANA.

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as Jerusalem’s ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent months. Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly supported Ukraine while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

In June, Israeli airstrikes put Damascus airport out of service for nearly two weeks. A pair of sorties targeting the Aleppo airport in early September also forced that facility to shut down.

This satellite photo released by Planet Labs PBC shows the damage after an Israeli strike targeted the Aleppo International Airport, September 1, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

The alleged strike comes as Israel’s military holds a weeklong drill across the country’s north.

The recent rare lull in strikes coincided with high-stakes negotiations to settle a longstanding maritime dispute between Israel and Lebanon that ended in an agreement earlier this month. A brief hiccup in the talks had briefly raised tensions along the northern frontier with Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

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