Israeli Warplanes Launch Airstrike Near Damascus
Aircraft from the Israel Defense Forces have launched a number of missiles at a strategic target close to the Syrian capital, Damascus, Israeli and Arab media reported. The reports in Israeli media have since been removed.
Several missiles were reportedly fired toward a target in the countryside south of Damascus, with some intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense and others hitting their intended target.
Arab outlet Al-Masdar News, citing its sources, reported that the target was an ammunition depot of the Syrian Army, located between the towns of Kiswah (Kesweh) and Sahnaya. "Loud explosions" were heard as the missiles hit their target, the news service said.
Other sources, however, claim the target was an Iranian military base in the Kiswah area, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city of Damascus. All reports on the alleged airstrikes in Israeli outlets I24News, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, have since been taken down, but their cached versions remain available.
The warplanes reportedly launched the missiles from Lebanese airspace.
Videos have emerged on social media purporting to show the moment when one of the Israeli missiles was intercepted by Syrian Air Defense.
Israel has previously carried out airstrikes targeting Syrian territory, either claiming to be targeting positions of the militant group Hezbollah or retaliating in response to stray projectiles that occasionally cross the border into the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights.
However, in early November an Israeli attack hit a copper factory in the Syrian province of Homs, prompting Damascus to urge condemnation of Israel's actions at the UN.
Israeli officials have long accused Iran of trying to establish a military foothold in Syria, where Tehran has been supporting Damascus's fight against ISIS and other terrorists. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, the goal is “using Syria as a base from which to destroy Israel.”