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
In its first airstrikes inside Syria in 2021, Israel’s warplanes targeted sites near Damascus late Wednesday night.
Among the targets was the Iranian base at Kisweh, which has been periodically attacked by the Israelis, and regime positions in Suwayda Province in southeast Syria.
Unconfirmed claims said three Iran-supported fighters were killed. A reliable pro-opposition activist said a regime soldier was slain in Suwayda.
S. #Syria: #Israel carried out last night the first airstrikes of the year, bombing positions in S. #Damascus countryside. A radar battalion was also struck in W. #Suwayda, destroying air defense equipment & killing one soldier (+2 wounded). pic.twitter.com/bJNddNaeSQ
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) January 7, 2021
Syrian State news agency SANA, quoting the Assad regime’s military, wrote, “The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack by means of a barrage of missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan on some targets in the southern region.”
The agency did not report any casualties. The military issued its template declaration that most of the Israeli missiles were intercepted.
The Israel Defense Forces, following standard practice, made no comment.
On Christmas Day the Israelis struck the Assad regime’s main complex for development of conventional and chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies Research Center, in Masyaf in Hama Province. The attack destroyed four buildings “probably used for mixing and casting components of missile engines and warheads”.
Five days later, Israel hit multiple sites in the al-Zabadani area in western Syria, near the border with Lebanon, apparently targeting the regime’s weapons shipments to the Lebanese organization Hezbollah.
Throughout Syria’s 114-month conflict, Israel has regularly struck regime and Iranian positions. It is seeking to disrupt regime military links with Hezbollah and to pressure Iran to withdraw its forces and Iranian-led foreign militias.
Since April, the strikes have escalated. Targets across the country have included Damascus International Airport, the T4 base in central Syria, positions with Iranian personnel and Iranian-led militia near the Iraq border, and Assad regime posts in southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.