Syria says downs 'hostile targets' in suspected Israeli attack

Syria says downs 'hostile targets' in suspected Israeli attack

Kerry Wise
December 1, 2018

Syrian and Russian media reported earlier that the Bashar al-Assad regime's air defense systems had neutralized some targets that were conducting airstrikes in the country's south. The army added that reports that Israeli aircraft was hit are incorrect.

Opposition sources say Hezbollah now plays a commanding role in the Quneitra province that neighbors the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where it is believed to be training allied militias and hundreds of former rebels.

Tehran has in recent months expanded its military presence in southern Syria after insurgents were driven out, with Hezbollah, by far the biggest of the Iranian-backed militias expanding its foothold there, according to regional security sources.

Citing military sources, Syrian television said its air force had "successfully repelled enemy targets", but did not specifically identify the enemy or the targets.

Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said there are "weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese Hizballah (group) as well as Iranian forces" in Kisweh.

It said a Syrian surface-to-air missile was sacked in the direction of an open area of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights but it was unclear if it had hit Israeli-held territory.

"These repeated attacks continue the episodic aggression against the sovereignty, unity and security of Syrian territory, and their goals are similar to regular Israeli attacks, the last of which was carried out over the al-Kiswah area south of Damascus".

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That incident created tensions between Israel and Russian Federation, another Syrian government ally, with Moscow saying it reserved "the right to take commensurate measures in response".

Iran and Russian Federation are the government's key allies in the civil war that has raved Syria since 2011, and Moscow's intervention in 2015 dramatically turned the tables against the rebels.

Also on Thursday, the Israeli army said a missile was sacked at the Israeli-occupied, Syrian Golan Heights, but that it remains unclear where the projectile fell, Haaretz reported.

Since then Israel has been very careful with its operation over Syria.

The Syrian military claimed to have thwarted a suspected Israeli attack in the war-torn country's south that would come in defiance of newly-installed Russian air defense systems.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told Moscow his government would continue to hit hostile targets in Syria to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence across the border.