Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Syria says seven troops wounded in Israeli missile attacks on Iranian bases

A Syrian military spokesman said the strikes only inflicted 'material losses'

Seven regime soldiers were wounded and Iranian militias also targeted in several airstrikes blamed on Israel south of Damascus on Monday night, state media reported.

A Syrian military spokesman was quoted on state television as saying its air defences thwarted most of the missiles that targeted southern Damascus suburbs, areas that Israel has hit in the past, before reaching their targets and inflicted only "material losses".

"The Israeli enemy's air forces launched over the occupied Golan Heights several missiles towards southern Damascus," the official Sana news agency said, citing a military source.

"Our air defences responded to them and intercepted most" of the targets, it said.

"The aggression wounded seven Syrian soldiers and led to material damage."

The severity of the blasts were heard in the capital and shook windows of several neighbourhoods there, according to residents.

A military spokesman in Israel said its army "does not comment on foreign reports".

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Israeli attack hit several targets.

"At least six Israeli missiles hit several positions belonging to regime forces and pro-Iran militias south of Damascus," Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said.

Other strikes hit Muqaylabiya and Zakiya towns near Kiswa, where Lebanese pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia are deployed with other pro-Tehran militias in strength, according to two senior army defectors.

An official in the regional alliance that supports Iran said that there were no Iranian or Hezbollah casualties.

Syria never publicly acknowledges that the strikes target Iranian assets in a country where Tehran's military presence has covered most government-controlled areas.

Israel has acknowledged conducting many raids inside Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 where it sees Iran's presence as a strategic threat.

Israeli defence officials have said in recent months that Israel would step up its campaign against Iran in Syria where, with the help of its proxy militias, Tehran has expanded its presence.

It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, saying its goal is to end Tehran's military presence in Syria.

The nine-year-old conflict in Syria has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced more than half of the country's pre-war population.

Updated: July 21, 2020 11:09 AM

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