People watch flames rise from the Assad regime base at Kisweh, where Iranian personnel are reportedly stationed, after claimed Israeli missile strikes, May 8, 2018
Multiple reports say Israel has again attacked pro-Assad targets near Damascus.
The Assad regime said anti-air defenses fired on “hostile Israel missiles” on Friday night about 11:15 pm. A regime “military source” said “most” missiles had been downed, an unsupported claim made about every Israeli raid.
The military said a Transport Ministry warehouse at Damascus international airport was hit. Another official said airport traffic was not disrupted.
Other local sources said Israel continued its tactics of striking military positions of Iranian forces and Hezbollah, including a base in Kisweh as well as near the airport.
Apparent Israeli strikes on the environs of Damascus. SANA (regime outlet) claims the international airport was bombed. Opposition outlets report 91st Brigade near al-Kiswe and 137th Brigade near Zakiya on the outskirts of the city were the targets. pic.twitter.com/7enzlMXMIO
— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) January 11, 2019
In line with its practice, the Israel Defense Forces made no comment.
Israel has periodically struck Assad regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets throughout Syria’s 93-month conflict. The attacks initially focused on Iranian transfers of weapons and missiles to Hezbollah and on the movement of Iranian and Hezbollah personnel to southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
In the past year, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding Iranian military withdrawal from Syria, Israel expanded the raids to targets Assad regime bases with Iranian personnel throughout the country.
There was a seven-week pause in raids after a Russian surveillance plane was accidentally downed in September by regime anti-aircraft fire, killing 15 personnel, during an Israeli attack on targets in western Syria. But on November 30 they were renewed, and on Christmas Day they reportedly targeted Iranian munitions and several senior Hezbollah officials as they boarded a plane for Iran.
In May 2016, Hezbollah’s military commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed at Damascus airport. Claims circulated that Israel assassinated him in an airstrike, but no cause was ever established.
After the September incident, Russia ended a suspension of eight years and delivered advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to the Assad regime. However, they are not yet believed to be in use because regime personnel have yet to be trained in their operation.