Flashes and explosions tore up the night sky over the Syrian capital of Damascus as air defenses intercepted the majority of incoming missiles, Syria’s SANA news agency reported, calling the reported attack “Israeli aggression.”
The army air defenses intercepted after midnight Israeli missiles aggression that targeted some sites in the surroundings of Damascus and downed most of the enemy’s missiles. Images shared on social media reportedly from the Damascus area showed large fires, although it is as of yet unclear if they were caused by Israeli missiles or air defense missiles.
A military source told SANA that at 12:56 a.m. on Thursday dawn, the Israeli enemy launched a new aerial aggression from over the Lebanese territories through which it targeted a number of sites in the surroundings of Damascus, asserting that the Syrian Air defenses intercepted the enemy’s missiles and downed most of them.
The airstrikes targeted sites belonging to the Syrian military and Iranian-backed militias near the Damascus International Airport and in the south and west of the Syrian capital, according to the opposition-affiliated Halab Today TV, which claimed that at least 12 people were killed in the strikes, including at least two dead from the Syrian military. On Thursday morning after the airstrikes, the airspace above the Golan Heights east of the Jordan River was closed to all flights above 5,000 ft.
Four Syrian servicemen were injured in the attack, which also inflicted material losses, SANA reported. The missiles reportedly came in from the direction of Lebanon as well as the Golan Heights, a territory occupied by Israel since 1973. Lebanese al-Manar TV channel said that one of the Syrian Air defenses missiles followed up an Israeli hostile warplane in the border area as the sound was heard throughout southern Lebanese airspaces.
There were reports of a “huge explosion” to the west of Damascus around 1am local time on Thursday.
A large explosion was heard near the border between Israel and Lebanon during the strikes after a Syrian air defense missile was fired towards an Israeli aircraft in the area, according to Hezbollah-affiliated reporter Ali Shoeib. The missile reportedly fell near the Lebanese town of Houla, located west of Kiryat Shmona.
Earlier in March, Syrian state media reported that the country’s air defense systems had repelled “Israeli” airstrikes in the south of Damascus. Tel Aviv has not commented the reports. Syria has frequently faced airstrikes recently, attributing them to Israel, with Tel Aviv targeting what it claims is Iranian-backed militia in the country.
Israel routinely launches airstrikes into Syria, saying it is targeting “Iranian” assets. Tehran has backed Damascus in the war against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists as well as Islamist militants backed by Turkey and the West that launched an insurrection against President Bashar Assad’s government in March 2011.
Thursday morning’s attack was the first since March 16, and the ninth since January, according to the Jerusalem Post. Israel has not officially commented on the strike.
Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapon convoys destined for Hezbollah.
Western intelligence sources say Iran’s military influence has expanded in Syria in recent years, prompting Israel to escalate its campaign to prevent Tehran from establishing a significant military foothold along its border. Iran’s proxy militias, led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, now hold sway over vast areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria, as well as several suburbs around Damascus. They also control Lebanese-Syrian border areas.