Arab media says IAF warplanes operating from Lebanese airspace struck army compound in Damascus, vehicles traveling on highway to Beirut
Israel is said to have carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, including on a Syrian military target and a weapons convoy belonging to Hezbollah, according to a number of reports in the Arabic-language media.
Israeli warplanes are said to have struck the military target in the Syrian capital of Damascus, while the raid on the weapons convoy occurred on the Damascus-Beirut highway, according to the reports.
News agencies affiliated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad said the air raid on the military compound occurred at 1:15 am local time and that four large explosions were heard in the capital. They further reported that the strikes were carried out by Israeli Air Force planes from Lebanese air space.
According to the Kuwaiti news netwrok al-Rai, the warplanes also struck a number of vehicles traveling on the main highway believed to have been part of a weapons convoy led by Hezbollah.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, a number of airstrikes in Syria or close to the border with Lebanon have been attributed to Israel.
Hezbollah has thousands of fighters in Syria, providing military forces to help Assad’s regime put down the insurgency.
In April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had carried out dozens of strikes against Hezbollah to prevent the group from obtaining advanced weapons — a rare Israeli admission of involvement in air attacks in Syria.
Israel has vowed to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game-changing” arms — in particular advanced anti-aircraft systems of chemical weapons.
Earlier this week, the Israeli Air Force struck a military target belonging to the Islamic State terror group on the Syrian side of the southern Golan Heights.
The raid early Monday came after an Israeli airstrike killed four members of an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist group in southern Syria on Sunday morning, following a clash near the border. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the exchange, the army said.
The military said that the additional airstrike Monday was also in response to the attack on Israeli forces on Sunday when, while conducting an “ambush operation,” according an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit had come under attack from small arms fire after crossing the security fence with Syria while remaining inside Israeli territory. They returned fire, but soon came under attack from mortar shells.
The IDF “will not hesitate to act against terror groups that operate against the State of Israel,” a military statement read.
The Syrian Golan has been the site of intense fighting in recent years between Assad regime forces and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, though the front on the border with Israel has been relatively quiet in recent months after seeing intense bouts of violence.
Israeli officials fear Hezbollah and Iran’s al-Quds Force, which are allied with Assad, are aiming at using the area to open a new front against Israel in any future conflict.
Since March 2011, when the war broke out, dozens of mortars have landed in Israeli territory as a result of spillover fighting. The IDF often responds to fire that crosses into Israel by striking Syrian army posts.
Israel maintains a policy of holding Damascus responsible for all fire from Syria into Israel regardless of the source.