Israel has reportedly carried out another airstrike against an Assad regime facility, hitting a target south of Homs in central Syria.
A “commander in a military alliance fighting in support of Damascus” — likely to be from Hezbollah — said the strike was on a “copper factory” in the town of Hisya, 35 km (21 miles) south of Homs and 112 km (70 miles) north of Damascus. He said the regime army fired a surface-to-air missile at the warplane.
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) November 2, 2017
The Israeli Defense Forces have not yet acknowledged the raid.
While maintaining Israel’s standard refusal to confirm, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz pointed to its intent: “I can‘t, of course, relate to reports about the Israel Defence Forces’ attack in Syria, but regardless, Israel’s position is clear: Smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes.”
He repeated Israel’s “red line…against arms smuggling (and) also against Iran’s consolidation in Syria”: “I think the other side also understands this clearly and actions that took place in the past for which we did take responsibility, were actions that were according to these lines, these red lines.”
Israel has struck complexes, warehouses, and convoys throughout the 79-month Syrian conflict, trying to halt the transfer of missiles and weapons to Hezbollah. In early September, it damaged the Syrian Scientific Research Center, which oversees the development of chemical weapons and ballistic missiles, in Hom Province.
Israel has also carried out bombing and missile attacks to prevent Hezbollah and Iran from establishing positions in southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In early 2015, one strike killed several Hezbollah troops and an Iranian general. The Israeli air force says it has struck arms convoys of the Syrian military and its Lebanese ally, the Iran-backed Hezbollah, nearly 100 times in recent years.
Last month, during a visit to Damascus, the head of the Iranian military warned Israel against further aerial operations over Syria. The message came after several Israeli attacks on Assad regime positions, following stray fire into the Golan Heights.