Syrian air defense intercepts 3 Israeli missiles targeting military site near Damascus – state media
Israel has reportedly launched air strikes at a Syrian military research facility in the Damascus countryside, local media report, claiming that the country’s air defense systems engaged and destroyed three out of at least six incoming missiles.
At 11:30pm Monday, Syrian “air defenses confronted an Israeli missile attack on one of our sites in the Damascus suburbs and three of the targets were downed,” SANA reported, citing a military source which blamed Tel Aviv for launching repeated attacks against Syrian government’s military installations in order to “lift the morale of the collapsed terrorists.”
While details of the alleged strike remain scarce, a government source told Sputnik that “Syria's air defense destroyed three of the six missiles that Israel launched at the Research Center in the suburbs of Damascus.”
Witnesses have meanwhile told Reuters that three strong explosions were heard near the village of Jamraya, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) northwest of Damascus. Smoke was also allegedly visible rising above the area. The strikes in Jamraya, allegedly by Israeli warplanes, were also confirmed by Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen News, which also noted that the Syrians managed to destroy three out of six missiles.
Jamraya is believed to be the home to a top-secret scientific, military technology research center that was established in the 1980s. The village which lies close to the Lebanese border is also home to the Presidential Guard’s 105th and 4th brigades. It is unclear what the Israeli missiles intended to hit, but the village was targeted twice by the Israelis in 2013. Those strikes allegedly targeted a convoy carrying anti-aircraft weaponry destined for Hezbollah, Israel’s arch-enemy. The Syrian military denied that any such shipments were taking place.
The attack on Monday comes days after the Israeli Defense Forces reportedly launched several missiles at an ammunition depot of the Syrian Army, located between the towns of Kiswah (Kesweh) and Sahnaya. On Monday, SANA said that its surface-to-surface missiles destroyed two of the rockets launched by Israel on December 1.
At least 10 buildings have been reportedly destroyed or damaged following Friday's airstrikes near Kiswah, which allegedly targeted an Iranian military base under construction in Syria, satellite photos provided by the Israeli satellite company ImageSat International showed on Monday.
While Israel has not yet issued a comment regarding the latest strikes, Tel Aviv has long accused Iran of trying to establish a military foothold in Syria, and arm Hezbollah in Lebanon. Last month the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Tehran of plotting to destroy Israel from Syria, where it has been helping fight terrorists at the government’s invitation.