Syria Accuses Israel Of Airstrikes South Of Damascus
Damascus Friday accused Israel of striking Syria, in what a monitor said were the such first missiles to hit the country since an air defence upgrade after the downing of a Russian plane in September.
The Syrian regime claimed its air defence systems shot down all “hostile targets” late Thursday. Israel did not confirm carrying out raids but denied any losses.
The Syrian foreign ministry on Friday said it had complained to the United Nations about “the Israeli aggression yesterday on the area of Kisweh south of Damascus”.
According to the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, the strikes hit two positions in the south of Damascus province, one an area where there are Iranian weapons depots in Kisweh.
“Israeli forces bombarded for an hour,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Two missiles hit “weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah (militant group) as well as Iranian forces” in Kisweh.
Another missile hit the area of Harfa, where there is a Syrian military base, the Britain-based monitor said.
In Kisweh, “the depots that were targeted are used to temporarily store rockets until they are taken somewhere else,” Abdel Rahman said.
“It appears the Israelis had intelligence that weapons had arrived there recently,” he said.
The state news agency said the attack was foiled and did not admit to any losses.
“Our air defences fired on hostile targets over the Kisweh area and downed them,” SANA said, citing a military source.
The pro-government Al-Watan daily, quoting a military source, said “the aggression, despite its intensity, was not able to implement any of its goals and all enemy bodies were downed”.
Initial reports by the Observatory suggested there were no casualties.
The Israeli military denied any of its assets were hit but stopped short of denying it had conducted strikes at all.
– Air defence upgrade –
“Reports regarding an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) aircraft or an airborne IDF target having been hit are false,” it said in an English-language statement.
It said a Syrian surface-to-air missile was fired in the direction of an open area of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights but it was unclear if it had hit Israeli-held territory.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighbouring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.