Israeli missile attack wounds three soldiers at arms depot near Damascus

Israeli missile attack wounds three soldiers at arms depot near Damascus
Israel has reportedly targeted three positions south of Syria's capital, marking the first attack of its kind since Washington announced its withdrawal of troops from Syria.
2 min read
26 December, 2018
Israel has in the past targeted Iranian and Hizballah forces in Syria [AFP]

Warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late on Tuesday, Syrian state TV said.

Three soldiers were reportedly wounded when missiles hit an arms depot, while other missiles were shot down by Syrian air defences. An unnamed official quoted by Syrian state media identified the warplanes as Israeli.

Lebanon's the state-run news agency reported that Israeli warplanes were flying at low altitude over parts of southern Lebanon. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said Israeli airstrikes targeted three positions south of Damascus that are arms depots for Lebanon's militant Hizballah group and Iranian forces.

The reported attack near Damascus is the first since US President Donald Trump announced last week that the US will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria, a move that will leave control of the oil-rich eastern third of Syria up for grabs.

Nearly an hour after the attacks began, Damascus residents could still hear the air defense units firing toward targets in the air.

"The aggression is still ongoing," said a presenter on state TV, which interrupted its programs to air patriotic songs.

Meanwhile, Israel's military spokesman unit also reported action, though it did not confirm air attacks. It said in a statement that "an aerial defense system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria." No damage or injuries were reported by the Israeli military.

Israel is widely believed to have been behind a series of airstrikes in the past that mainly targeted Iranian and Hizballah forces fighting alongside the government in Syria. Tuesday's attack is the first since a missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on November 29.

Russia announced it had delivered the S-300 air defense system to Syria in October. That followed the September 17 downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli airstrike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.