Israel has reportedly launched another airstrike on a base near Syria’s capital Damascus that is used by Iranian-led militias.
The Assad regime’s media said the Israelis launched missiles at the base in Kisweh, south of Damascus, hours after Donald Trump announced US withdrawal from the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Unconfirmed claims said that nine Iranian personnel and/or Iranian-supported militia were killed.
State news agency SANA put out the regime’s standard assertion that the attack had been repelled, saying both missiles were destroyed by air defenses.
But a “commander in the regional alliance supporting…Assad” — a phrase pointing to Hezbollah — said the missiles had struck the base, albeit without causing casualties.
The Israel Defense Forces maintained its policy of never commenting on its operations. A spokeswoman said, “We do not respond to such foreign reports.”
Israel first struck the Kisweh base last autumn, with Israeli outlets reporting a build-up of the facilities and the positioning of Iranian and Iranian-led personnel. The IDF has also stepped up assaults on other major positions where Iran is involved, including two attacks on the T-4 base near Palmyra in central Syria.
Before Trump’s statement, the Israeli military had instructed civic authorities in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to to ready bomb shelters, deploy new defenses, and mobilize some reservist forces against a possible Iranian response.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is travelling to Moscow on Wednesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about “ensuring ongoing military cooperation in Syria” — a reference to Moscow’s commitment, part of a September 2015 deal in which Israel accepted Russia’s military intervention — to keep Iranian-led forces and Hezbollah away from the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu has also pressed for Russia to go farther in restricting Iran’s involvement in Syria. However, a confrontation is looming because of the Assad regime’s likely offensive on opposition areas in the south, attacks which would require Iranian-led units.