Claimed image of an Israeli airstrike near Damascus, Syria, February 14, 2021
UPDATE, FEB 15:
Another wave of Israeli airstrikes has been reported near Damascus.
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) February 15, 2021
The Israelis reportedly struck again in or near Damascus International Airport, targeting Iranian facilities to move weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and the al-Kisweh base in the west of the capital.
The strikes came hours after a top advisor to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif proclaimed Tehran’s readiness for retaliation.
Speaking with Russia’s Sputnik site, Ali Asghar Khaji said, “[Our] presence in Syria is aimed at combating Daesh [the Islamic State] and other terrorist groups, but if Israel wants to cross the ‘red lines’, it will face the toughest response, which will make it regret its actions.”
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) February 15, 2021
UPDATE, FEB 4: The Assad regime’s military claims that it repelled an Israeli missile attack in southern Syria.
A military official put out the standard statement that most of the missiles were shot down, saying the attack began about 10:42 pm.
Local sources said the Israelis hit a target in or near Damascus Airport, hours after several cargo planes of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards landed, unloaded, and returned to Tehran.
Israeli authorities have issued no statement.
UPDATE, JAN 22:
An Assad regime military official claims that an Israeli airstrike, targeting Hama early Friday killed a family of four.
The official said four other people were injured as three houses were destroyed.
But the Syrian Network for Human Rights questions the regime narrative. The pro-opposition site, which documents the displacement and killing of civilians, said the family had been displaced from Abu Makki village in southern Idlib Province.
It concludes, “We believe the missile was fired by Syrian regime forces using a ground anti-aircraft system.”
Civilian IDPs, all from 1 family, were killed on Jan22, when a missile landed nr their residence in Kazou neighborhood, Hama. SNHR believes the missile was fired by Syrian regime ground anti-aircraft & stresses perpetrators must be held accountable.#Syriahttps://t.co/Q9J8YFYmFV pic.twitter.com/hr0boEyCRo
— Syrian Network (@snhr) January 23, 2021
UPDATE, JAN 14:
The claimed death toll from Wednesday’s Israeli strikes on Iranian positions in eastern Syria has risen to 57.
Local sources say the casualties include 14 Assad regime troops, 16 Iran-supported Iraqi militiamen, and 11 Afghan members of the Iran-led Fatimid Brigade.
Sources said the Fatimid Brigade had transported Iranian-manufactured weapons across the Iraq border in recent days.
Without acknowledging the casualties, the Assad regime’s Foreign Ministry claimed “flagrant Israeli aggression” was coordinated with the “criminal practices” of the US-supported, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
The regime, proclaiming that it will “retake every inch” of Syria, is pressing for an end to the Kurdish autonomous administration in the northeast.
Using the blog Al Masdar, the regime’s military said one of its troops was killed and 12 wounded.
The military official said several pro-Assad militiamen were also slain, but insisted that “claims about the Iranian casualties are nothing more than rumors spread by opposition activists”.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 13: Local sources say Israeli warplanes have struck Iranian positions in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, killing at least 15 pro-Assad fighters.
Assad regime media confirmed the strikes after midnight, saying an assessment of damage and casualties is being carried out.
The Israel Defense Forces, following standard practice, made no comment.
The missile attack was the fourth by Israel against Iranian and regime targets in the past two weeks, including a strike on an Iranian base west of Damascus last Wednesday.
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.
Pressuring Iran and Hezbollah
Wednesday’s targets were in the al-Bukamal area of Deir ez-Zor Province, where there are large bases for Iran-supported foreign militias.
Fatimid warehouse, Nasr Al-Irani Center on Port Saeed Street in #DeirEzZor were targeted. #Iraq-i #Hezbollah positions near #AlBukmal border area were also targeted. 5-20 deaths reported on pro-israeli media. pic.twitter.com/PrNSvWEXUt
— Ahmad (@_ahmadalhindi) January 13, 2021
Israel also sees the bases as transfer points for missiles and weapons to Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Throughout Syria’s 114-month conflict, Israel has regularly struck regime and Iranian positions, targeting the links with Hezbollah and pressuring Iran to withdraw its forces and the foreign militias.
Since last April, targets across the country have included Damascus International Airport, the T4 base in central Syria, and Assad regime posts in southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.