Syrian air defences ‘shoot down’ Israeli missiles over Damascus

Israel carried out ‘an air aggression’ near Damascus early on Friday, a Syrian military source has said.

Israel did not comment on the attack and rarely acknowledges such operations but it has launched hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in the past [File: SANA via AFP]
Since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air attacks [File: SANA/AFP]

Syrian air defences have shot down missiles fired by Israel in the skies over the capital, Damascus, SANA state news agency said early on Friday.

“At around 1:26 am today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the direction southeast of Beirut, targeting some points in the vicinity of the city of Damascus,” a Syrian military source was quoted as saying in a statement carried by SANA.

Syrian TV showed scenes of air defences shooting at targets over the city.

“Our air defence confronted the aggressor’s missiles and shot down most of them, and the losses were limited to materiel,” the statement said.

The sound of the roaring Israeli planes flying at a low altitude over the areas on the outskirts of Beirut was heard at dawn on Friday, witnesses said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in Syria, confirmed the attack.

It said the Israeli attack targeted a Syrian government forces’ site used by pro-Iranian militias to develop weapons in Barzeh and Jamraya, rural areas near Damascus.

The watchdog said ambulances rushed to the targeted site and the area was cordoned off by Syrian security.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reported attack on Syria.

Last month, Syria said Israeli air raids targeted the Damascus and Homs regions, adding that the country’s air defences intercepted several Israeli missiles.

Since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air attacks on Syrian territory, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. However, it rarely acknowledges such attacks.

The Israeli military has recently used Lebanon’s airspace to launch the attacks in an apparent effort to avoid confrontation with the Russian air force, which is active in Syria.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies