Claimed image of an Israeli missile strike on a base near Damascus, Syria, October 30, 2021
UPDATE, JULY 5:
In a departure from its long-standing acceptance of Israeli strikes on Assad regime and Iranian targets inside Syria, Russia has criticized the “categorically unacceptable” attacks for the second time in two weeks.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday, “We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law, and we demand their unconditional cessation.”
On Saturday, Israel struck near the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus. Significantly, the area is close to Russia’s main naval base in the region.
Russia echoed the Assad regime’s line that two civilians were injured and serious damage was caused to civilian infrastructure. However, Israel’s Channel 12 claimed, without citing a source, that the airstrike targeted an Iranian air defense system recently brought into Syria by sea.
The importance of the operation was apparent in its timing of 6:30 a.m., a rare daylight attack by the Israeli air force.
Under a 2015 “deconfliction agreement”, on the eve of Russia’s massive military intervention to save the Assad regime, Israel has generally had freedom of action inside Syria.
But last month, after Israel hit Damascus International Airport and shut down its operations — apparently in another attack on Iranian transfers of weapons and missiles, including to its ally Hezbollah — Russia’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the “vicious practice” of the “provocative” strikes and said they were “in violation of the basic norms of international law” (see below).
UPDATE, JUNE 13:
Prime Minister Hussein Arnous has pointed to the severity of the damage at Damascus International Airport, closed by Israeli strikes on Friday, in a photo-opportunity tour.
Assad regime media said Arnous instructed workshops to accelerate the repair of the runways and operational faciities.
Some flights have been transferred to Aleppo International Airport in northwest Syria, while others are cancelled.
Syria: in addition to the runways (cratered 6 times), Israel directly struck & blasted yesterday some of the main buildings of Damascus Inlt Airport. Significant damage for the first time ever, confirming it is out of use for some time. pic.twitter.com/chtFTcsYlA
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) June 11, 2022
UPDATE, JUNE 12:
Reports say the Assad regime may have to close Damascus International Airport for months after Israeli strikes damaged runways.
Damascus International Airport will be out of use for some time after the Israeli attack, likely weeks, possible months. Planes unable to move, runways taken out, big strikes on each runway. Remaining flights redirected to Aleppo, huge cost, air travel in Syria paralysed.
— Danny Makki (@danny_makki) June 11, 2022
Unconfirmed claims that the Friday attack hit three arms depots supplied by Iran and used by Iran-backed militia, as well as damaging the observation tower and lighting systems for navigation.
UPDATE, JUNE 11:
In an unusually harsh condemnation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the “vicious practice” of Israeli strikes on civilian infrastructure in Syria.
The Ministry said the attacks were “provocative” and “in violation of the basic norms of international law”.
Israel has generally had freedom of action inside Syria under a “deconfliction agreement” with Russia, established by talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2015.
The agreement was strained in September 2018 when, during an Israeli attack, Assad regime anti-air fire downed a Russian electronic intelligence plane and killed 15 troops. However, there was no lasting curb on Israeli action, even with Russia’s advanced S-300 anti-air missile systems inside Syria.
Friday’s Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport “completely disabled” operations at both runways, with each struck three times, according to ImageSat International.
In separate missile strikes in April and May, sections of one of the runways were damaged, shortening its length and preventing large planes from landing.
ISI said Friday’s strike “disabled the entire airport until repair”.
There has been no comment from either Iran or Hezbollah about the effect on Iranian weapons and missile transfers to the Lebanese organization.
UPDATE, JUNE 10:
The Assad regime has closed Damascus International Airport after the latest Israeli strike damaged a runway.
The Transport Ministry cited “technical disruptions” for the closure, and State news agency SANA wrote, “some technical equipment stopped functioning at the airport.”
However, an airport employee spoke of Israeli strikes at dawn on Friday: “We had to postpone all flights for at least 48 hours and some flights have been rerouted through Aleppo Airport.”
An official at an Arab airline said an airport landing strip was hit.
Assad regime media did refer to Israeli airstrikes on military positions south of Damascus early Friday, saying one person was wounded.
Israel has stepped up airstrikes near Damascus this spring, including on the airport, in an apparent to stop Iran from transferring weapons to its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah.
UPDATE, JUNE 7:
Israeli warplanes fired missiles on targets south of Syria’s capital Damascus, possibly aiming at bases for Iranian forces, on Monday night.
Syrian State news agency SANA said several sites were damaged by the attacks at 11:18 p.m.
Trackers indicated the sites were in the suburb of al-Kiswah, where Israeli have attacked an Iranian base on several occasions, and near Damascus International Airport.
The Assad regime’s military did not report any casualties. It issued its standard declaration that most of the missiles were intercepted and downed.
UPDATE, MAY 21:
Three Assad regime soldiers have been killed in the latest Israeli missile strikes near Syria’s capital Damascus.
Syrian State news agency SANA reported the attack by surface-to-surface missiles on Friday night. Local media said the victims were part of an air defense unit.
Unconfirmed claims said that the strikes targeted sites in Sayyidah Zaynab, south of Damascus, or that they set a fire near Damascus International Airport.
A leading analyst of military developments said the strike was on the airport, delaying some commercial flights.
Syria: last night during aerial bombardment on area of Damascus Intl airport, Israel also destroyed an Air Defense position. Crew killed (one Captain & 2 Lieutenants from Hama & Tartus provinces)👇 pic.twitter.com/AAkVehIzQ0
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) May 21, 2022
He said that a fourth victim, the head of the Cargo Department, later died of injuries — evaluating that this pointed to an attack on an Iranian weapons shipment.
Hours earlier, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson accused Iran and the Lebanese organization Hezbollah of “endangering civilians” by smuggling arms in civilian flights to the Damascus airport.
The strikes came one week after an Israeli strike killed six regime troops, all member of an air defense unit, during an attack in the Masyaf area in northwest Syria.
No target was identified, but the Assad regime’s conventional and chemical weapons complex, the Scientific Studies Research Center, is located in Masyaf.
UPDATE, MAY 11:
An Israeli missile attack at 3 a.m. on Wednesday struck a site in southwest Syria, according to Syrian State news agency SANA.
The agency said the attack was near the town of Hader near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It did not cite casualties, but acknowledged “material damage”.
Unverified claims on social media said the Israeli fired four missiles and also attacked with artillery.
UPDATE, APRIL 27:
The Assad regime’s military says four troops have been killed and three injured by Israeli strikes near Damascus.
The attack is the third by Israel this month, and the first since April 14.
A military official said surface-to-surface missiles were fired from Tiberias in northeast Israel. He issued the standard statement that most were downed by anti-air defenses.
A pro-opposition Syrian analyst tweeted:
Syria: early today Israel bombed outskirts of Damascus. At least four soldiers killed, incl. a Colonel (photo). Highest-ranking SAA officer killed that way since June 2021. 3 soldiers also wounded. pic.twitter.com/EGoCIAaNpM
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) April 27, 2022
An Israeli military drone crashed in Syria on Tuesday, with the Israeli Defense Forces investigating the cause. The IDF said no sensitive information was lost and there is no risk of intelligence being taken from the device.
UPDATE, APRIL 15:
Israeli warplanes have struck Assad regime territory for the second time within a week, according to the regime’s military.
A military official told Syrian State news agency SANA of Israel’s “air aggression”, firing from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights upon western Damascus Province at 11:02 p.m. local time.
The official said there were material losses, while repeated the regime’s standard line thata some of the missiles were downed.
UPDATE, APRIL 10:
Israel has carried out rare day-time airstrikes inside Syria, again striking a key Assad military complex in Hama Province.
Syrian State news agency SANA reported, “The Israeli enemy launched an aerial assault from the direction of northern Lebanon targeting a number of positions in the central region.” It did not cite any casualties.
The apparent target in Masyaf was the regime’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which oversees development of conventional and chemical weapons.
As usual, the Assad military proclaimed that some of the Israeli missiles were downed.
The Israel Defense Forces, following standard practice, did not comment on the strikes.
The Israelis have attacked the Scientific Studies and Research Center on several occasions during Syria’s conflict, and has also targeted other chem
ical weapons facilities.
UPDATE, APRIL 4:
Satellite imagery shows the extent of damage by Israeli missile strikes on an Assad regime base near Damascus on February 9.
The strikes killed one Assad regime soldier and injured five, including three members of an air defense crew who were seriously wounded.
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) April 3, 2022
UPDATE, MARCH 9:
The University of Tehran’s Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a de facto spokesman for Iran’s authorities, has admitted that two Iranian military personnel were killed in Israel’s airstrikes on Monday.
Marandi made the admission while pushing standard propaganda lines from officials such as the Supreme Leader. He did not explain why members of Iran’s Quds Force were in “residential areas”.
Yesterday the apartheid regime broke international law & bombed a residential area in Damascus. Ehsan Karbalaee Pour & Morteza Saeed Nejad from the Quds Forces were martyred.
The Quds Forces help protect Syria from NATO backed ISIS & Al-Qaeda.
The apartheid regime will pay. pic.twitter.com/BE81yjRAgf
— Seyed Mohammad Marandi (@s_m_marandi) March 8, 2022
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards later confirmed the deaths of Colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour and Morteza Saeidnejad and said Israel would “pay for this crime”.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh proclaimed, “The infanticide Zionist regime’s insolence and operations via its terror machine will definitely not go unpunished.”
Assad regime media said two Syrians were killed, claiming they were civilians rather than military personnel.
UPDATE, MARCH 7:
Israel again fired missiles near Syria’s capital Damascus early Monday.
The Assad regime’s military claimed two civilians were killed as it admitted “material damage” from the 5 a.m. attack. The targets were not identified, but a series of Israeli strikes this year have been on regime bases with an Iranian presence.
Assad outlets said the damage was in Dahyat Harasta, an area near a regime base with housing for officers and their families.
As usual, the military asserted that it had downed most of the Israeli missiles, launched from jets flying over Lebanon.
A tweet from the State news agency purporting to show damage:
— الوكالة العربية السورية للأنباء – سانا (@SanaAjel) March 7, 2022
UPDATE, FEB 24:
The Assad military has acknowledged the deaths of three troops in the latest Israeli airstrikes near Syria’s capital Damascus.
Military officials said the attack was about 1:10 a.m. on Thursday. They issued their standard declaration that most of the missiles were downed, but admitted “some material damage”.
Social media posts claimed the attack was on a base in the Zakiya, which Israel also struck on February 16.
On Wednesday, Israel fired surface-to-surface missiles on Assad positions in Quneitra in southwest Syria, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Israeli military dropped leaflets on Assad regime positions, warning troops that they could be targeted for collaborating with the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah: “To the leaders and members of the Syrian army, we have warned you and continue to warn you, we will not stop as long as your cooperation with Hezbollah continues.”
UPDATE, FEB 17:
The Assad regime’s military says Israeli surface-to-surface missiles, fired from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, struck targets south of Damascus late Wednesday.
There were no reports of Syrian anti-air defenses trying to down the missiles, in contrast to claimed defense against strikes by Israeli warplanes.
Local sources said the latest Israeli attack targeted a base used by Iranian and Iran-supported armed forces.
The Assad military said there was “material damage” but no casualties.
UPDATE, FEB 9:
Israeli warplanes have fired missiles on targets near Damascus for the second time this year.
A pro-opposition activist reports that the attack, on the northwestern outskirts of the Syrian capital, killed one Assad regime soldier and injured five, including three members of an air defense crew who were seriously wounded.
The regime’s military acknowledged the casualties, saying the Israelis struck in two waves, just before and after 1 a.m. Wednesday. It said the attack was in the Qudsaya suburb of Damascus, causing “material losses”.
The Israel Defense Forces said that it carried out a further strike, after an Assad regime missile exploded in mid-air near the city of Umm Al-Fahm in northern Israel: “In response to the anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria earlier tonight, we just struck surface-to-air missile targets in Syria, including radar & anti-aircraft batteries.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 31: Israel’s warplanes have fired missiles on targets near Damascus, a week after joint air patrols by Russian and Assad regime forces along the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Syrian State news agency SANA reported the strikes on Monday at 3:05 a.m., citing “material damage” without details or reference to casualties. As usual, the Assad military issued the unsupported claim that anti-aircraft defenses downed several of the missiles.
In December, Israel twice bombed containers at the major Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean, causing substantial damage. There was widespread criticism, by Syrians in Assad regime territory, of Russia’s failure to challenge the attacks despite positioning S-400 advanced anti-air systems in the country.
The regime and Iran were further unsettled by Russia not including regime personnel in its air maneuvers, leading to last week’s high-profile announcement of joint patrols.
Israel has regularly attacked during the 129-month Syrian conflict to prevent Iran transferring missiles, weapons, and equipment to its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, another essential backer of the Assad regime. The strikes have escalated since the autumn, as the Israeli press for Iran’s military withdrawal and the prevention of an Iranian-Hezbollah presence in southwest Syria near Golan Heights.
Monday’s strikes were the ninth set in three months. Most of the targets have been regime and Iranian bases and warehouses near Damascus and Homs.
Moscow has taken no steps to limit the Israeli strikes, with claims circulating that Russian leader Vladimir Putin, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on October 22, accepted the operations.