Israeli airstrikes allegedly hit several sites on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday, according to the Syrian military, while a war monitor said three people were killed in the attacks.
The strikes came from the direction of the Golan Heights, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing an unnamed military official. It added that Syrian air defenses shot down some missiles and those that landed resulted in “some material losses.” It was not immediately clear if there were casualties.
There was no immediate comment from Israel.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Saturday that three people were killed in early morning strikes that targeted a building in an upscale area near the Syrian capital.
The war monitor said that the strikes may have killed “figures of non-Syrian nationalities” though it could not immediately confirm whether the dead were fighters.
Rahman added that many other people were injured in the strikes on a neighborhood hosting “villas for top military and officials.”
Videos circulating on social media on Saturday morning appeared to show the aftermath of the alleged Israeli strikes, including a multi-story residential building in rubble.
#BREAKING: The #Israel Air Force conducted an airstrike against an #IRGC linked target in Al-Dimas neighbourhood of #Damascus, #Syria. The target of the airstrike is said to be a group of high ranking officials of IRGC Quds Force & #Hezbollah terrorist organization. pic.twitter.com/gJ12WmskvZ
— Babak Taghvaee – The Crisis Watch (@BabakTaghvaee1) February 9, 2024
Since the Gaza war erupted, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacres, Israel has stepped up a years-long campaign of airstrikes aimed at rolling back Iran’s presence in Syria, attacking both Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel across the Lebanese-Israeli border since October 8.
Israel rarely comments on its attacks in Syria and has not declared responsibility for the recent strikes there, aside from its responses to the firing of projectiles launched from Syria.
The observatory said the assault was the 10th apparent Israeli strike on Syrian territory since the beginning of the year.
Presumed Israeli strikes in Syria in the past have killed high-ranking figures with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and allied groups. In December, a strike on a Damascus neighborhood killed a high-ranking Iranian general, Seyed Razi Mousavi, a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Syria.
The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacres, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 250 hostages of all ages — mostly civilians — many amid horrific acts of brutality.
Vowing to destroy Hamas and secure the release of the hostages, Israel launched a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza which has come under increasing criticism in the region and the wider international community as it stretches into its fourth month.
Iran, which supports Hamas both financially and militarily, has hailed the devastating October 7 attacks as a “success” but denied any direct involvement.
Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border with Lebanon on a near-daily basis, with the Iran-backed group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there. So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in six civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of nine IDF soldiers and reservists.
There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.
Hezbollah has named 186 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 25 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 19 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.