Syrian state media reports Israeli airstrikes near Aleppo

Syrian state media reports Israeli airstrikes near Aleppo

Official SANA news agency claims air defenses downed incoming missiles in area of populous northern city; no reports of casualties or damage

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Syrian Air defenses respond to alleged Israeli missiles targeting south of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)
Illustrative: Syrian Air defenses respond to alleged Israeli missiles targeting south of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)

Israeli aircraft launched a number of missiles at targets near the Syrian city of Aleppo in the early hours of Friday morning, Syrian state media said.

Syrian news outlets reported the strikes hit unspecified targets in the town of al-Safirah, southeast of Aleppo, an area that once contained a Syrian regime missiles production facility.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its long-standing policy to neither confirm nor deny its activities in Syria.

Aleppo is a major city in northern Syria, near its border with Turkey, and is an uncommon — but not unprecedented — site for reported Israeli airstrikes.

It was not immediately clear what was hit in the reported airstrike.

Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying that Syrian air defenses downed most of the Israeli missiles before they hit their targets. Syrian war analysts generally dismiss the military’s regular claims of interceptions as false, empty boasts.

Earlier this month, SANA said that the Israeli military launched missiles at targets near the central city of Homs.

According to the official SANA news outlet, Israeli jets fired “a burst of missiles” at the T-4 Syrian military airbase, the largest in the country, at 10:23 p.m., from the area of al-Tanf, a US-controlled region of Syria near the Iraq border.

A Syrian opposition group claimed that the strike killed 16 Iran-backed fighters.

The Israeli military has long maintained that the T-4 base, also known as Tiyas base, is being used by Iran to move weapons throughout the region, including to the powerful Hezbollah terror group, and to conduct its own operations.

The reported strikes on September 2 came two days after Israel was said to have launched missiles at targets in Syria’s south, killing at least two Syrian soldiers. A Syrian civilian woman was also reportedly killed when a Syrian military anti-aircraft missile struck her home.

The August 31 attack appeared to be the first reported Israeli airstrike on targets in Syria since a July 20 attack, in which a Hezbollah fighter was killed, prompting the Lebanese terror group to vow revenge for his death and sparking as-yet-unresolved tensions.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces, and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group, Hezbollah.

It rarely confirms details of its operations in the country, but says Iran’s presence in support of President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah is a threat and that it will continue its strikes.

Following the July strike in which a Hezbollah fighter was killed, the Israeli military went on high alert along the Lebanese border, bracing for an attack by the group. According to the IDF, the terror group has attempted to exact its revenge against Israeli troops a number of times in the ensuing weeks.

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