Israeli missiles have struck an Assad regime target for the second time within days near Syria’s capital Damascus.
Syrian State news agency SANA acknowledged the strike on the Jamraya military research facility, west of the capital, at 11:30 p.m. Monday. Witnesses and an AFP correspondent reported three explosions and thick smoke rising over the area.
וככה נשמעה התקיפה לפי אתר חדשות המזוהה עם המשטר pic.twitter.com/tCy2CsDbqv
— roi kais • רועי קייס (@kaisos1987) December 4, 2017
Jamraya was also hit by Israel in January 2013, reportedly targeting a convoy of Russian-made SA-17 missiles being transferred to Hezbollah, the Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah.
Early Saturday, Israel hit a military base near al-Qiswa, about 13 km (8 miles) southwest of Damascus, which Iran has reportedly built up in recent months — possibly to host up to 500 Iranian and Iranian-led troops.
On both occasions, the Assad military claimed that air defenses intercepted some of the missiles, without providing any evidence for the claim.
The Israel Defense Forces do not comments on their operations within Syria.
On Tuesday, the Assad regime’s Foreign Ministry sent letters to the UN Security Council and Secretary General claiming that “the Israeli support for terrorists in their war on Syria is no longer a secret nor can it be misconstrued, as the Israeli occupation has become exposed to the entire world as an open partner of Daesh [the Islamic State] and [Jabhat] al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations that are given weapons, funding, orders, and logistic support”.
Netanyahu: “We Will Not Allow Iran to Entrench Itself Militarily in Syria”
Israel has regularly struck regime targets — including the “research centers” devoted to missile development, bases, warehouses, and convoys — that are part of a weapons supply to Hezbollah. In September, one of the regime’s largest facilities for missile and chemical weapons devolopment was attacked in Hama Province in early September.
In January 2015 an Iranian general and Hezbollah troops were killed by an airstrike in southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, reportedly as they were planning to set up missile positions. The Israelis have made any movement of Hezbollah, Iranian units, or Iranian-led foreign militia into the area a “red line” that cannot be crossed, periodically hitting regime positions near the Golan to reinforce the message.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly conveyed a warning to Bashar Assad in recent days, via a third party, that the regime will itself be targeted if Iran is allowed a permanent presence. On Saturday, hours after the initial on the “Iranian base”, Netanyahu’s office released his video declaration:
Let me reiterate Israel’s policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state.
State Media: 8 Killed, 18 Wounded in Homs Bombing
State news agency SANA says eight people were killed and 18 wounded in the bombing of a passenger bus in Homs on Tuesday.
The attack was in the Ekrama neighborhood, damaging cars and shops.
No group has claimed responsibility.