Syria Claims Israeli Strike on Military Base Near Damascus

Reports within Syria claim an Iranian military base was the target, and that both surface-to-surface missiles and warplanes were used in the attack

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
The site of a reported Iranian military compound in Al-Kiswa, Syria, January, 2017.
The site of a reported Iranian military compound in Al-Kiswa, Syria, January, 2017.Credit: Airbus, McKenzie Intelligence Services via BBC
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Israeli warplanes struck a military base near the Syrian capital of Damascus overnight Friday, Syrian state television has confirmed.

>> UPDATE: Alleged Israeli strike in Syria: Why Iran's silence speaks volumes | Analysis <<

According to pro-Assad news outlets, the target of the attack was an Iranian military base near the city of Al-Kiswa, located some 13 kilometers south of Damascus.

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Syria's air-defense system fired missiles at Israeli aircraft which reportedly launched the attack from Lebanese airspace, Sky News Arabia reported.

Syrian state media has confirmed that an attack took place, and claimed that two Israeli surface-to-surface missiles had also been intercepted by Syrian air defenses. The report did not divulge further details as to the attack's target or of casualties sustained. The Syrian government has yet to comment.

According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization affiliated with the country's opposition, heavy explosions were heard in the Damascus area and electricity was cut off in several parts of the city.

Israeli officials have declined to comment on the reports.

The reported Iranian compound in Al-Kiswa, with new structures completed, October, 2017.Credit: Digital Globe, McKenzie Intelligence Services via BBC

Earlier this month, the BBC reported that Iran has built a permanent military base in Syria within a compound used by the Syrian military near Al-Kiswa.

Aerial images of the site dated January, May and October of this year show the development of construction at the compound; since January, at least three new buildings have been erected, while two of the existing structures have undergone renovation.

The original compound, which consists of around 25 buildings, is thought to house soldiers and vehicles, the report suggests.

>>Israeli attempts to kick Iran out of Syria could escalate into war | Analysis<<

Speaking to a Saudi publication in November, Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot reiterated the Israeli demand for an Iranian retreat from Syria:

"Our demand is for Iran and its militias to retreat from Syria. We have said openly, and also quietly and secretly too, that we will not accept Iranian consolidation in Syria."

"We will not allow any Iranian presence, we have warned them against building factories or military bases and we will not allow it," he said.

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