Syria says two soldiers hurt, ‘material losses’ caused by alleged Israeli airstrike

IDF doesn’t comment on strike attributed to Israel by Damascus, which claims that its aircraft defenses intercepted several Israeli missiles

File: Smoke billows above buildings after an Israeli strike on the outskirts of Damascus on November 22, 2023. (AFP)
File: Smoke billows above buildings after an Israeli strike on the outskirts of Damascus on November 22, 2023. (AFP)

Alleged Israeli airstrikes against targets near Damascus wounded two Syrian soldiers on Sunday, the Syrian defense ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

“At around 22:05 p.m. (1905 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the occupied Golan Heights, targeting several areas near the capital Damascus,” the SANA official news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The ministry said “two soldiers were wounded” and averred that Syrian anti-aircraft defenses had intercepted several Israeli missiles, a claim that could not be independently verified.

SANA also reported that there were “material losses” following the alleged Israeli airstrike.

An AFP correspondent near Damascus reported hearing bombardments.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, alleged that Israeli aircraft struck Syrian “[Bashar Assad] regime anti-aircraft defenses as well as positions of Hezbollah near Sayyida Zeinab” district south of the capital. The organization, run by a single person, has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of false and inaccurate reporting.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas, the country’s northern border has also heated up, with almost daily missile fire from Lebanon but also sporadic rocket attacks from Syria.

Last week, the IDF carried out airstrikes in Syria late Tuesday evening, after three rockets were fired from the country at the Golan Heights, with two falling short in Syrian territory and the third landing in an open area in Israel, according to the IDF. The military said troops responded with artillery shelling at the source of the fire.

Later that night, the army said it also carried out strikes in Syria, hitting Syrian Army infrastructure, including an observation post.

An IDF drone strike against a vehicle near the Syrian border in the Golan Heights earlier this month was said to have killed four people, three of them Hezbollah members, including Hassan Ali Dakdouk — the son of Ali Mussa Dakdouk, thought to be in charge of the terror group’s operations in southern Syria.

While Israel’s military does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed terror groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade. The Israeli military says it attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

Over the past two months, Israel has struck Syria several times. In October, Israeli strikes put Syria’s two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo out of service several times.

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