Late on Tuesday, the Israeli air attacks struck central Syria, with local news agencies tied to the Assad government reporting “explosions in Damascus” before adding that its air defenses had been activated against the “Israeli aggression”.
Israeli planes arrived from Lebanese air space, the news agency added. It did not mention any reports of casualties or damage, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) told a news agency that at least 11 pro-government fighters were killed in the attacks that took place late on Tuesday.
According to SOHR chief Rami Abdulrahman, “at least seven army officers and four National Defense Forces militiamen were executed.” The assaults targeted airforce sites in the village of Khirbet al-Tin, on the outskirts of Homs, as well as an arms stockpile linked to the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, according to a war monitor based in the United Kingdom.
The target of the attacks was not immediately clear, though they are the first reported since the controversial re-election of Bashar al-Assad for a fourth seven-year term. However, the UK-based SOHR reported that “ explosions were felt in and around Damascus following Israeli strikes on military positions” of the Assad regime.
The Israeli army, which rarely acknowledges individual attacks on Syria, declined to comment on “reports in the foreign media”.
Since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air attacks on Syrian territory, targeting government positions and allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.