Syria says Israeli jets strike near Damascus and Tartus, killing three soldiers

Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in areas near the Syrian capital Damascus and the coastal city of Tartus on Sunday night, killing three soldiers and wounding three others, Syria’s official state media said.

Israel has not acknowledged the specific strike in the enemy state and had no comment on Sunday’s report.

According to local media reports, heavy explosions were heard in the coastal city and along the Lebanese coast.

State broadcaster SANA, citing a military source, said some missiles fired from Lebanon were intercepted in the Damascus countryside and from the sea at Tartus.

The Syrian army claims to have shot down incoming missiles after nearly every alleged Israeli strike, an assertion Israeli military officials and civilian defense analysts largely dismiss as empty boasting.

A Syrian military source also said the sites that were hit had been damaged, without elucidating the scale or nature of the targets.

Footage circulating on social media apparently showed a burning site in the Tartus area. SANA confirmed that there was a fire at the targeted site. It did not mention the rank and identity of those killed and wounded.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based watchdog, claimed that the Israeli strike targeted a Syrian army air defense base in the Abu Afsa area south of Tartus. The opposition monitor, which relies on a network of informants in Syria and has been criticized for having obscure funding sources, added that Iran-backed fighters are often on the ground.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria over the past decade, mostly to thwart attempts by Iranian forces to transfer arms to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group or gain a foothold on Israel’s northern border.

Despite the deterioration of relations with Moscow in recent months, Israeli attacks on Russian-controlled Syrian airspace have continued.

Israel has found itself at odds with Russia, as the Jewish state increasingly supports Ukraine against Russian aggression, while trying to maintain freedom of movement in Syrian skies.

The last strikes attributed to Israel in Syria were on August 12, when two people were wounded Israeli tanks opened fire Areas near the border in the Golan Heights.

On July 2, Israel reportedly attacked a site in the city Al-HamidiyyahSouth of Tartus, near the border with Lebanon.

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