Image from Syrian State news agency SANA of damage in Kafr Sousa area of Damascus after Israeli strikes, February 19, 2023
UPDATE, FEB 23:
Sunday’s Israeli missile strike on Damascus targeted Iranian and Assad regime officials who are pursuing development of drone or missile capabilities, sources have told Reuters.
A “source close” to the Assad regime, said Syrian and Iranian technical experts in drone manufacturing were conferring at the time of the attack: “The strike hit the center where they were meeting as well as an apartment in a residential building. One Syrian engineer and one Iranian official — not high-ranking — were killed”.
A second source, who “spoke to Syrian security personnel briefed on the matter”, said the meeting was in a Iranian military installation in the basement of a residential building inside a security compound.
A “regional intelligence official familiar with the strike” said the target was part of a covert guided missile production program run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Sources said one of the slain was a Syrian army civil engineer who works at the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which develops the Assad regime’s conventional and chemical weapons.
A “regional security source” said one Revolutionary Guards engineer, involved in Iran’s missile programm, was seriously injured and transferred to a hospital in Tehran. Two mid-ranking Guards members at the meeting were unharmed.
The US military said last week that its forces shot down an Iranian-made drone flying over a base with American personnel in northeastern Syria.
On February 14th, at approximately 2:30 PM local time, US forces in Syria engaged and shot down an Iranian-manufactured UAV attempting to conduct reconnaissance of Mission Support Site Conoco, a patrol base in northeast Syria. pic.twitter.com/3GSf8odK3w
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 15, 2023
ORIGINAL ENTRY, FEB 19: Israel has reportedly killed 15 people in its latest strike on Assad regime and Iranian targets in Syria’s capital Damascus.
Israeli missiles fell early Sunday on Kafr Sousa near Omayyad Square in central Damascus. It is an area populated by the regime’s senior security officials, security branches, and intelligence headquarters as well as Iranian positions.
Several buildings were damaged. The regime’s Defense Ministry initially said five people were killed, including one soldier, and 15 were injured.
Following standard practice, the Israel Defense Forces did not comment.
Israel has regularly struck the positions of the regime, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011. The strikes have targeted Iran’s weapons supply to Hezbollah, and have expanded to support the demands of Israel’s politicians for an Iranian withdrawal from Syria.
Iran has been essential to the Assad regime’s survival. Through the uprising, it has provided intelligence, logistics, and propaganda support. In 2013, it intervened by building up militias, when the regime’s armed forces were at breaking point, and supporting Hezbollah’s entry into the conflict.
Sunday’s strike is the first significant attack since attacks on January 2 briefly knocked Damascus International Airport out of service, killing two regime troops and wounding two.