Israel targeted a number of locations surrounding Damascus in a rare daytime strike on Saturday, according to Syrian media reports.
The state SANA news site said the strikes were carried out using surface-to-surface missiles fired from northern Israel and that explosions were heard in the countryside surrounding the Syrian capital.
SANA said two Syrian soldiers were injured and there was “material damage” after the country’s air defense systems were activated against “hostile targets from the direction of occupied lands,” an apparent reference to Israel.
The news site claimed that the missiles were “repelled.”
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group of unclear funding, said Saturday’s raid destroyed arms and ammunition depots belonging to Iranian forces and allied militias in Qudsaya and Dimas.
Although not unheard of, daytime strikes on Syrian targets are relatively rare.
There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of only publicly acknowledging strikes that are in response to attacks from Syria.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria over the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.
On Monday, Syrian media said Israeli missiles struck targets connected to the Hezbollah terror group on the outskirts of the town of al-Baath as well as other locations in southern Syria.
The three sites were all reportedly connected to Hezbollah’s so-called Golan File, its efforts to establish a front along the Golan border from which it can carry out attacks against Israel.
According to Syrian media, two of the sites were observation posts used by the Lebanese terror group, while the third target was a site just next to a Syrian military facility that Israel has long claimed was working with Hezbollah, the offices of Cpt. Bashar al-Hussein, commander of a reconnaissance company in the Syrian army’s 90th Brigade.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-Syrian opposition organization of unclear funding, said the strikes caused “material damage,” but there was no immediate word on casualties.
Later on Monday morning, in a tacit threat, the Israeli military reportedly dropped leaflets in the Syrian Golan mentioning Hussein by name and warning Syrian troops to avoid cooperating with Hezbollah. The IDF did not immediately confirm dropping the fliers, but the pages were marked with the eagle symbol of the Israeli military’s 210th “Bashan” Division, which defends that area of the border with Syria.
Syrian state media report that ground-to-ground missiles were fired from Israel on Saturday morning, Oct. 31, toward suburbs of the capital Damascus. No details were offered except to claim that some of the missiles were downed by Syrian air defenses and they injured two Syrian soldiers.
DEBKAfile adds that the main highway from Syria to Lebanon was targeted as well as Hizballah bases in the Dimas area west of the Syrian capital, to curtail Iranian arms deliveries to Hizballah. This latest attack was unusual in that it used precise ground-to-ground missiles for the sake of a high degree of accuracy in attacking Iranian and pro-Iranian targets.
This action came after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s conversation at Sochi with President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 22. The Russian leader informed Israel that Moscow would no longer tolerate air strikes that were capable of destabilizing the Assad regime. He also called on Israel to provide advance notice of forthcoming hits against Iranian targets in Syria at an earlier stage than at present.
A likely consequence of that conversation was the IDF’s resort to extra precise surface missiles for curbing the Iranian military presence in Syria instead of routine air strikes