FILE – Syrian air defense systems confront Israeli airstrikes. (Photo credit: AP)
Israel launched a new round of airstrikes in the vicinity of Syria’s capital Damascus in the early hours of 22 July, killing four soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and injuring at least ten others.
The attack originated from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and specifically targeted Syrian air defense units.
According to local sources, a Pantsir and a S-125 Neva/Pechora anti-air vehicles were destroyed in the attack, and their occupants were killed.
The SAA added that their surface-to-air defense systems were able to shoot down most of the Israeli missiles.
“Explosions resound in Damascus and its countryside as a result of Israeli airstrikes on military sites,” the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported early on Friday.
The SOHR went on to add that the targets of the attack included the Syria air force intelligence offices and the office of a senior SAA officer.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal revealed that since 2017 Israel has carried out more than 400 airstrikes on Syrian soil in violation of international law.
One of the most devastating of these took place on 10 June, as Israeli missiles targeted the runways and other infrastructure of Damascus International Airport, forcing it to shut down for several weeks.
Damascus International Airport is a key lifeline between Iran and various resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine, who receive military, financial, and other forms of support via Syria.
While Tel Aviv rarely comments on their individual attacks against Syria, it has acknowledged they target positions allegedly held by Iran-backed militias fighting on the side of Damascus.
Last month, in a letter to the UN, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that the UN issue a “clear” condemnation of the frequent airstrikes by Israel on its territory.
The US-backed war in Syria has killed nearly half a million people since 2011 and displaced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes, creating a severe refugee crisis in the region.