Two Reportedly Killed in Israeli Attack Over Syria's Damascus

Echoes of explosions were heard in the city's skies and the country's air defense systems were activated in response to 'Israeli aggression,' Syria's state media reported

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An anti-aircraft missile near the Damascus airport, in 2019.
An anti-aircraft missile near the Damascus airport, in 2019.Credit: SANA / AP
Jack Khoury

Two people were killed in an Israeli attack in near Damascus on Monday night, according to Syrian state media.

According to state television, Israeli Air Force planes emerged from the direction of Beirut at 5:00 A.M. and Syria's air defense systems were activated in response. It was also reported that the struck targets were damaged and that echoes of explosions were heard in the capital's skies.

This is the first attack attributed to Israel in Syria since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A few days after the invasion, the Russian embassy in Israel announced that military coordination with Israel in Syria would continue and that senior Russian military officials would discuss it on a daily basis. "This mechanism has been proven to be effective and will continue to work," the Russian embassy said.

The announcement was issued after Russia expressed dissatisfaction with Israeli statements on the war in Ukraine, and after Israel's ambassador to Russia Alex Ben-Zvi was summoned for a clarification call.

Israel has been cautious in its statements regarding the war in Ukraine so as not to harm this coordination. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called for an end to the war several times but so far refrained from explicitly condemning the invasion or mentioning Russia or Putin in his statements.

In contrast, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid explicitly condemned the Russian invasion.

Meanwhile, Israel last week supported the UN General Assembly's decision to condemn the Russian invasion, after Russia assured it that it would not harm security coordination between the countries in Syria, according to a political source.

Over the weekend, Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoke with him again on the phone yesterday.

The last attack attributed to Israel in Syria was hours before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It was reported in Syria that Israel had attacked targets in the area of Quneitra using missiles launched from the ground.

A Syrian military source told the SANA news agency at the time that the missile attack was carried out near midnight, and that there were no casualties.

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