Tuesday, March 5, 2024

5 Syrian soldiers killed in Israel raid on Damascus

At least five Syrian servicemen were killed in Israel’s airstrikes on Damascus and some areas to the south of the capital in the early hours of Saturday, state news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.

“At approximately 0:45am this morning, the Israeli enemy carried out air aggression with rockets from the northeastern direction of Lake Tiberias [Sea of Galilee], targeting Damascus International Airport and some points south of Damascus,” a source told SANA.

While the Syrian air defenses “shot down a number” of missiles, the military acknowledged the deaths of at least five “military personnel and some material losses” on the ground.

The Israeli military neither confirms nor denies its reported raids, in line with its long-standing policy to not comment on operations conducted outside the country.

Over the past several weeks, Israel has conducted multiple strikes against various targets in Syria, and its two remaining major airports in particular, as confirmed by the Russian Defense Ministry. On August 31, a missile attack temporarily disabled Aleppo International Airport and also caused damage to the airport in Damascus. A week later, on September 6, another missile struck the runway of the Aleppo airport.

In June, a series of Israeli strikes took the Damascus airport out of service for several weeks, with traffic rerouted to Aleppo – which had just reopened in February 2020 after being damaged in the decade-long war.

Israel has repeatedly targeted Syria with missiles, usually fired from Lebanese airspace or the occupied Golan Heights, wary of air defense systems provided by Russia to Damascus. On the rare occasions that Israel has acknowledged the attacks, its government said it was exercising preemptive self-defense against the “Iranian presence” in the neighboring country.

Tehran has offered military aid to Damascus in recent years against both Islamic State (IS) terrorists and other militants.

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