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Israeli ‘aggression’ targets Syrian air defence base: Report

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Israel carried out an aerial strike targeting a main Syrian air defence base in southern Syria on Thursday in the latest bombing campaign since the outbreak of war in Gaza on Oct. 7, Syrian army and intelligence sources said.

Israeli soldiers operate in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the border with Syria.(REUTERS)
Israeli soldiers operate in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the border with Syria.(REUTERS)

Citing a Syrian military source, state media had earlier said missile strikes coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights had targeted several sites it did not identify.

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“Our air defences confronted the (Israeli) aggressors’ missiles and downed some of them with only material losses,” a Syrian military source said.

Reuters could not independently verify the report. There was no immediate comment from Israel’s military.

Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers, Israel has escalated its strikes on Iranian-backed militia targets in Syria and also struck Syrian army air defences and some Syrian forces.

The strikes are believed to have targeted a Syrian army air defence base and a radar station in the Tel al-Sahn area in the Sweida province in southwestern Syria, according to a Syrian military intelligence source and another regional security official familiar with the matter.

Last month, another anti-aircraft defence system in Tel Qulaib and Tel Maseeh in southern Syria were hit in what the senior intelligence sources said was an intensified campaign by Israel to disrupt Syrian air defence systems that Iran was involved in expanding.

“Tehran is stepping up its efforts to provide Syria with air defence systems that can potentially erode of the effectiveness of Israeli strikes,” said another regional military source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“This is related to the Gaza war calculations in the event of the conflict spreading,” he added.

Israel has for years carried out attacks on what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that started in 2011.

The strikes are part of an escalation of what has been a low-intensity conflict with a goal of slowing Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, Israeli military experts say.

Fighters allied with Iran, including Hezbollah, now hold sway in vast areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria and in several suburbs around the capital.

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