Syrian Air Defense Intercepts Israeli Attack on Military Position, State Media Says

Deaths reported after Israeli aircraft launched missiles at targets near city of Hama, which opposition says were in sites used by Iranian and Hezbollah forces

Jack Khoury
File photo: Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.
File photo: Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.Credit: SANA via AP
Jack Khoury

Israeli planes targeted a military position near the province of Hama in Syria on Saturday, but Syrian air defenses intercepted and downed some of the rockets, Syrian state television said on Saturday.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 22Credit: Haaretz

Citing military sources, SANA news agency and Syrian state television said that Israeli aircraft had targeted "one of our military positions toward the city of Masyaf" in northwestern Syria, wounding six soldiers.

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The Syrian opposition reports that the sites are used by Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli airstrikes hit three targets, wounding 17 Syrian soldiers. It said there were also deaths, but it was not immediately clear how many were killed and whether they were Iranians or Iran-sponsored fighters.

It said the strikes targeted the Accounting School as well as a missile development center in a village near Masyaf and a nearby military base run by Iran-backed fighters.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army.

According to the SANA report, the Israel Air Force planes fired at the Syrian positions from Lebanese airspace at about 2:30 A.M. Saturday.

"The enemy missiles were dealt with and some of them were shot down before reaching their target, resulting in the damage of a few buildings and the injury of fighters," SANA added. The source declined to specify to which country's military the fighters belong.

Since the civil war started, Israel has carried out scores of military strikes in Syria during against suspected arms transfers and deployments by Iranian forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies which are backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli Air Force has struck security and military infrastructure in Masyaf in the past.

Israel has in recent months acknowledged it has been striking Iranian targets in Syria. The last such strikes that Israel announced were in late March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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