ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Alleged Israeli strikes hit Syria for 2nd time, hours after attack on air defenses

Two Syrian soldiers killed, six wounded in initial attack on Tartus; second strike in Hama area causes ‘material losses’

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

This image circulating online purports to show smoke rising from a site in the Tartus area following an alleged Israeli strike in Syria, September 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
This image circulating online purports to show smoke rising from a site in the Tartus area following an alleged Israeli strike in Syria, September 13, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Israeli Air Force allegedly carried out airstrikes against targets in northern Syria on Wednesday night, hours after the Israeli military was reported to have targeted nearby air defense systems.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a military source, said the IAF fighter jets launched missiles from over northern Lebanon toward the Syrian city of Hama.

The state-run media outlet said that there were “material losses ” as a result of the strikes against targets in the Hama area.

Earlier Wednesday, the Israeli military allegedly carried out rare daylight strikes against targets near the coastal Syrian city of Tartus — some 80 kilometers west of Hama — killing two soldiers.

SANA, citing a military source, said, “The Israeli enemy” launched missiles from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, targeting a number of air defense sites in the Tartus area.

The report did not specify if the attack was carried out by warplanes or naval vessels.

Aside from the two soldiers killed, six others were wounded and there were “material losses” in the initial strike, the source said.

The first strike appeared to be a suppression of enemy air defenses, or SEAD, mission, aimed at paving the way for Israeli fighter jets to strike targets without needing to evade Syrian air defenses.

In recent years, numerous Syrian soldiers serving in air defense units have been killed or wounded in airstrikes attributed to Israel.

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 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 Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

The last alleged Israeli sortie over Syria was carried out on August 28, when fighter jets reportedly carried out strikes against Aleppo International Airport, putting it out of service for two days.

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