DAMASCUS: An Israeli missile attack on Friday near Damascus killed three soldiers and wounded seven more, in what a war monitor said was the 17th Israeli attack on Syrian territory this year.

Israel has been carrying out strikes for years against what it has described as Iranian and Iran-backed targets in Syria, where Tehran has deployed forces in support of President Bashar al Assad since a civil war began in 2011.

Citing a military source, Syria’s Sana news agency said Israel “carried out an aerial aggression” just after midnight, firing missiles from the Golan Heights targeting “a number of positions in the vicinity of Damascus”.

Syrian air defences managed to shoot down some of the missiles, Sana added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israeli missiles had been fired at targets including air force intelligence offices in the area of Mezze air base on the western edge of Damascus. An Iranian weapons store on the southern outskirts of Damascus was also destroyed, said the Observatory, which reports on the war using what it describes as a network of sources on all sides.

The Syrian government last reported an Israeli attack on July 2 which it said targeted an area south of the Mediterranean city of Tartus and injured two civilians.

Syria briefly halted flights to and from Damascus airport last month after saying an Israeli attack damaged the airstrip and a terminal.

Iran said two officers from its Revolutionary Guards were killed in an Israeli air strike in Syria in March, prompting Tehran to vow revenge.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2022

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