Residents in southern Damascus reported sounds of explosions on Sunday night, as Syria’s State media published but then withdrew a claim of a missile strike.
At least two large blasts were heard in the area of Damascus international airport, south of the capital. Some analysts speculated that the Assad regime’s defenses were triggered by an Israeli electronic attack.
The Israel Defense Forces issued their standard no comment.
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) December 9, 2018
Israel has periodically fired missiles inside Syria during the country’s 93-month conflict. Initial strikes focused on disrupting Iranian arms and missile transfers to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an essential ally of the Iranian regime, and on Iranian-led and Hezbollah forces who moved into the area near the Golan Heights.
Since early 2017, Israel expanded strikes across Syria, particularly on sites connected to Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for the withdrawal of all Iranian personnel from the country.
The strikes were effectively suspended in September, after the Assad regime’s air defenses accidentally downed a Russian surveillance plane, killing 15 personnel, as Israel fired missiles on targets in western Syria. Russia and Israel have had “de-confliction” arrangements since September 2015.
But Israel carried out raids on November 30, reportedly on the bases of Iranian-led foreign militia and Iranian weapons stores.
After the September strikes, Russia carried out the long-delayed delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Damascus, but they are not believed to be operational yet.