Assad regime anti-air defense fire as Israeli missiles strike Damascus, Syria, July 20, 2020
UPDATE, AUG 8:
Israel’s army chief has blamed Iran for an attempted bombing at the border between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Meeting soldiers from the unit that thwarted the attack, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said the four-man team that planted explosives was operating on Iranian orders: “You thwarted a squad sent by Iran, which was part of the process of establishing a radical axis in Syria.”
The Israeli military indicated that it killed all four cell members. The Iranian regime has not made any statement about the incident.
Earlier this week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pointed at the Lebanese organization Hezbollah:
We hit a cell and now we hit the dispatchers. We will do what is necessary in order to defend ourselves.
These are not vain words; they have the weight of the State of Israel and the (military) behind them and this should be taken seriously.
Since April, Israel has stepped up its recurrent missile strikes on Assad regime, Hezbollah, and Iranian positions inside Syria. Two weeks ago, a Hezbollah fighter was among the dead in an Israeli strike near Damascus.
UPDATE, AUG 4:
Israeli warplanes struck Assad regime positions in southwest Syria on Monday, retaliating for Sunday’s attempted bombing of a border fence with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Israel Defense Forces said it targeted observation posts, intelligence collection systems, anti-aircraft batteries, and command-and-control bases.
Assad regime media said Israeli helicopters fired missiles about 10:40 pm at Syrian checkpoints in Quneitra Province, causing damage.
The Israeli military said it fired on a group of four people planting explosives on a patrolled fence on Sunday. An IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, suggested the men were killed.
The military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, said it was too soon to identify which organization was behind the operation, but that Israel held “the Syrian regime accountable”.
S. #Syria: last night pro-Assad elements placed an IED near the border with Golan. However they were monitored during whole operation and killed by a precise #Israel|i strike. pic.twitter.com/Oic2grupme
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) August 3, 2020
Unconfirmed claims are circulating that at least 15 people have been killed in an airstrike on a base used by Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria near the Iraq border.
The claims said the attacks were from 5 am until 9 am on the Imam Ali base near the town of Abu Kamal in eastern Deir ez-Zor Province.
Israel has recurrently targeted the base and other Iranian positions, stepping up the attacks this spring.
UPDATE, JULY 25:
In its latest operations inside Syria, the Israel Defense Forces attacked Assad regime targets in southwest Syria on Friday
The IDF said it responded to mortars fired toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, “A number of targets were struck, including SAF [Syrian Armed Forces] observation posts and intelligence collection systems located in SAF bases.
Syria’s State news agency SANA, quoting a military officials, said the Israeli helicopters targeted three outposts in southern Quneitra Province with anti-tank guided missiles. The site said two people were injured.
The IDF said there were no casualties from the mortar fire from the Syrian-held area of the Golan Heights. A building and an Israeli vehicle were damaged. It warned:
The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible for the fire against Israel earlier today. The IDF will continue operating with determination and will respond to any violation of Israeli sovereignty.
Israeli strikes near Damascus on Monday killed at least seven pro-Assad troops, including a Hezbollah fighter.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 21: Israel’s missiles have again struck Assad regime and Iranian positions near Syria’s capital Damascus.
Witnesses reported at least six explosions on Monday night, in the areas of Dahiyat Qudsaya and Mushra Dummar in the west of the city. At least seven regime troops were reportedly killed.
Syrian State news agency SANA put out the regime’s standard claim that anti-air defenses downed some of the missiles. However, the only evidence of their effect was the starting of a fire in northern Jordan.
The Israel Defense Forces followed their practice of refusing to comment.
#Syria: bombardment is now over. Many blasts heard from S. #Damascus to N. #Daraa, some caused by air defense missiles. Satellite should determine targets bombed but region is known to have significant #IRGC-linked presence. 2nd pic if air defense missile which crashed in Jordan pic.twitter.com/4HyGbLKTCs
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) July 20, 2020
Israel has periodically attacked regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets throughout Syria’s 112-month conflict. It escalated the strikes this spring, putting pressure on Iran to withdraw its troops and Tehran-support foreign militia from the country.
Monday’s attacks were the first since Israeli missiles killed at least 15 people on or near Iranian bases in eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border, on June 27-28. Those strikes came hours after after the first visit to Syria by Maj. Gen. Esmail Qa’ani, the head of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards branch for operations outside Iran.
The Iranian military responded last Thursday, “We warn the Zionist liars and their puppeteers that if they continue their mischief, they will see the upper hand of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the resistance front in action.”
Israel’s strikes initially focused on stopping the movement of weapons, and preventing an Iranian or Hezbollah province near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. However, since 2017 they have expanded to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for Iran’s full military withdrawal from Syria.
Since mid-April, Israel has carried out at least 11 strikes on pro-Assad targets, including the Iranian bases and the Scientific Studies Research Center, a key part of the regime’s conventional and chemical weapons program.