Israel targeted Syrian regime's elite 4th Division following rocket fire
The Israeli army said it targeted a military compound belonging to a notorious division led by the Syrian president’s brother, in response to the firing of missiles towards the occupied Golan Heights over the weekend.
Israeli warplanes launched air raids on targets in Syria including a regime military complex belonging to the Fourth Division led by Maher al-Assad, in addition to radar and artillery sites belonging to regime forces, an Israeli military statement said.
"These raids come after an Israeli drone targeted the missile launchers that were used to launch rockets from inside Syria," overnight Saturday-Sunday, the statement added.
The Arabic-language spokesman for the Israeli military Avichay Adraee published a video on his Twitter page showing the Israeli drone targeting the rocket launchers in Syria used to strike the Golan Heights.
Syrian state-run news agency SANA acknowledged that loud explosions could be heard in the vicinity of Damascus, but had not verified the location or reason behind them.
Citing an unnamed military source, SANA said Syria's military had "intercepted the rockets... and brought down some of them".
Israel’s Channel 13 said Maher, Bashar’s younger brother, was not present at the site of the airstrike on the Fourth Division’s complex when it happened.
The regime's elite division has strong links to Iran and has committed atrocities during the Syrian conflict.
The channel claimed that Damascus prevented Iranians from launching drones from Syrian territory into Israel without its permission four years ago to avoid heavy Israeli retaliation.
Iran has been heavily involved in the 12-year war, backing regime forces and proxy militias in Syria, and Israel has repeatedly sounded concern over the growing presence of Iran and its proxies near its border.
Although it doesn’t often claim responsibility, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria over the years, targeting Iranian and Iran-backed militants and arms.