Initial reports claimed that there were casualties and material damage south of Damascus
Syrian air defense systems were activated in response to an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting the Damascus area from Lebanese airspace early Monday morning, according to the Syrian state SANA news agency. The attack marks the second airstrike in Syria blamed on Israel in the past week.
A military source told SANA that the air defense systems were able to shoot down most of the missiles, but that some managed to cause material damage without any casualties.
According to the Step News Agency, the airstrikes targeted Iranian sites south of Damascus including near Al-Kiswah, Sahnaya and Set Zaynab. Material damage and casualties were reported in Al-Kiswah and Sahnaya.
One missile hit an Iranian site in Set Zaynab, but no information was available yet the extent of casualties or damage.
According to Al-Mayadeen, Israeli aircraft were flying at low altitudes over southern Lebanon during the time of the attack.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel is not lowering its guard and “more determined” than Iran, adding that he “wouldn’t say that it’s been good for [Iran, Hezbollah and Syria] recently.”
“For Iran, Syria is an adventure far from home, 1,000 km from home, from the Golan Heights. For us it’s life. Iranian soldiers who come to Syria and operate within Syria. Their blood is on their heads. They are risking their lives and paying with their lives. We will not allow the establishment of an advanced Iranian base in Syria,” said Bennett.
Last week, at least nine Iranian militants and members of the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in the Palmyra area of Syria on Monday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Syrian air defense systems were activated early on April 21 in response to an alleged Israeli airstrike and managed to down a number of “enemy missiles”, according to SANA. Al-Mayadeen news reported that the alleged Israeli attack had “failed.”
The attack was conducted from Lebanese airspace and targeted Iranian positions in the desert near Palmyra in central Syria, according to SOHR. Al-Mayadeen reported that the attack targeted a military site north of the Palmyra airport.
Earlier this month, an alleged Israeli airstrike launched from Lebanese airspace targeted the al-Shayrat airbase in the Homs Governorate, the same governorate where Palmyra is located, according to the SOHR. A cargo plane had flown between the airbase and the T-4 airbase shortly before the airstrikes occurred. The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen news agency reported that the targets were missile bases east of Homs.
On March 5, an attack on the Homs area that was also attributed to Israel was carried out from Lebanese airspace and the Golan Heights, according to SANA.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it would not tolerate Iran building up its forces in Syria. Airstrikes on Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias throughout Syria have been blamed on Israel, although Israel has only claimed direct responsibility for a small number of them.
Anna Ahronheim and Reuters contributed to this report.