Reports claim airstrikes and ground-to-ground rocket attacks overnight; Syrian army claims it intercepted several of the rockets, warns Israel against further terrorism, claims it is “prepared to deal with these attacks”; IDF refuses to comment; PM: Israel has a longstanding policy to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Syrian territory. This policy has not changed. We back it up, if necessary, with action.
The Syrian Army reported 3 separate Israeli airstrikes and ground-to-ground missiles attacks outside of Damascus overnight. Rebel forces reported that the strikes had targeted the Syrian army’s 55th Artillery Regiment. The base was known to be storing long-range and Scud missiles.
According to the Syrian Army, the airstrikes were carried out on the Al-Qutayfah outside of Damascus, the first taking place at 2:40 am by airstrikes. It claimed the attacks were carried out from Lebanese airspace, reporting “Close to 2:40 am, the Israel Air Force fired a number of missiles over Lebanese territory at the Al-Qutayfah suburbs of the capital of Damascus. Our air defense systems responded and hit one of the planes (jets).”
The Syrian Army warned Israel against further attacks, claiming its “flagrant aggression reaffirms Israel’s support for the armed terrorist groups in Syria,” warning that it is “prepared to deal with these attacks” in their continued war against “terrorism”.
The strikes follow several security cabinet meetings by Israeli security and political officials this week. Details of the meetings were not released to the public given a “military censor”, but reports claim the meetings centered on Iran’s presence in Syria, as well as regional developments.
As with majority of Israel’s covert missions in Syria, the IDF refused to confirm or comment on the reports.
Prime Minister Netanyahu briefly addressed the attacks during a meeting with NATO representatives Tuesday morning reiterating that Israel has “a longstanding policy to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Syrian territory. This policy has not changed. We back it up, if necessary, with action.”
Netanyahu recently reported that Israel Air Force is at the “peak of its capabilities”, addressing the threats of radical Islam, Hamas and Iran, stating, “We continue to face major challenges in the north, south and east. On all of these fronts we find the arms of radical Islam, which has already caused terrible disasters in our region but not in our state.” Referring to Israel as “an island in a very stormy sea”, he stated “We are guarding our security based on a clear policy: We will not allow Iranian military forces to establish bases in Syria in order to attack us and we will act to prevent the manufacture of precise and deadly weapons aimed at us.”
Photo: Israeli jets, Wikimedia Commons, 2017.