The Assad regime’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, Masyaf, Hama Province, Syria

Israel missiles have again struck a key Assad regime target in Syria, reportedly killing nine people and causing significant damage.

Thursday night’s attack was on the Masyaf factories. The complex is part of the Scientific Studies Research Center, central in the regime’s conventional and chemical weapons programs, in Hama Province in northwest Syria.

Syrian State news agency SANA issued its standard declaration, from a “military source” that air defenses downed some of the missiles. But neither an advanced S-300 anti-aircraft battery or an even more advanced Russian-operated S-400 battery appeared to have been used.

Local sources said four victims were Syrian and five were foreign nationals. The death toll is expected to rise.

The regime’s military official admitted “material damage” but said there were no casualties.

Masyaf was also attacked in 2018 and August 2019. Sources said that greater damage appeared to have been inflicted last night.

Israel has escalated its campaign on regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah positions this spring, with at least eight strikes since mid-April. The targets have included bases with Iranian troops and Iranian-supported militias, convoys, and another branch of the Scientific Studies Research Center near Aleppo.

See also Syria Daily, May 5: Israel Hits Regime and Iran Near Aleppo

The Israel Defense Forces, conforming to standard practice, did not comment on Thursday’s attack. Reports from Lebanese media indicated that Israeli jets fired from Lebanon’s airspace, as they have in almost all previous strikes.

Israel has regularly carried out missile strikes during Syria‚Äôs nine-year conflict. The strikes initially focused on stopping Iran’s movement of weapons to Hezbollah, but later expanded to press for Tehran’s full military withdrawal from the country.

Israeli officials claimed last month that Iran has begun withdrawing some of its forces and foreign militia because of the attacks.