Syrian army says Israel hits southern Damascus in second strike in week

Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Israel has launched air strikes on an area in the southern outskirts of Damascus, the Syria army said on Wednesday.

The Syrian military said in a statement that the Israeli aerial strike on a strategic area that Israel had hit in the past came from the occupied Golan Heights and caused only material damages, Reuters reported.

Reuters cited military defectors as saying the strike targeted a military base in Jabal Heights near the town of Kiswa, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards have long been entrenched in a rugged area almost 15 km south of the center of Damascus.

A senior army defector noted that strikes that occurred in July also hit towns near Kiswa, where Lebanese po-Iranian Hezbollah militia are deployed with other pro-Tehran militias in strength, according to the news agency.

The area has anti-aircraft missiles that are stationed to defend the Syrian Golan Heights along the border with Israel, the military sources said.

An Israeli military spokesman told Reuters that Israel does not “comment on these kind of news reports”.

Israel launched air raids against what it called a wide range of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria last Wednesday, sending a signal that it will pursue its policy of striking across the border despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said at least 10 people, including five Iranians from the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards responsible for operations outside of Iran’s own borders, were killed during the attack.

On Sunday, Iran vowed to defeat any Israeli attempt to harm its role in Syria, saying the era of “hit and run” attacks by Israel there was over.

“The Zionist regime [Israel] is well aware that the era of hit and run is over and therefore they are very cautious,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khateebzadeh told a virtual weekly news conference.

“Iran’s presence in Syria is advisory and naturally if anyone disrupts this advisory presence, our response will be a crushing one,” Khatibzadeh said.

Israel, which views Tehran as its biggest security threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets and those of allied militia in Syria, where Tehran has backed President Bashar al-Assad and his forces against rebels and militants since 2012.

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