Israel accused of striking Syrian site, air defenses kill 4 civilians - reports

Damascus and Beirut accuse Jerusalem of carrying out airstrike from Lebanese airspace.

Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

Four Syrian civilians were killed after regime air defenses responded to an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting sites in the Qalamoun Mountains near the capital of Damascus.

According to Halab Today news, the four were killed when regime missiles fell on residential areas in the town of Qara. Hezbollah affiliated al-Manar reported another three people were injured.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) fired over ten anti-aircraft missiles towards Israeli jets, which struck targets belonging to Iranian-backed militias overnight on Thursday.

Quoting a military source,  Syrian state news agency SANA said that Israel launched airstrikes from the southeast of Lebanon’s capital Beirut “targeting some posts in the surroundings of Damascus and Homs.”

The statement added that Syrian air defenses “confronted the aggression missiles and shot down most of them, and the outcomes of the aggression are being verified.”

An incoming rocket siren alert was activated in an open area after one of the Syrian missiles exploded in the air over the Dead Sea. Shrapnel reportedly fell inside Jordan. 

Israel declines to comment on foreign reports.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab was quoted by Lebanon’s MTV News as having asked Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Zeina Akar to file an “urgent complaint” against Israel "which violated Lebanon’s sovereignty, endangered the safety of civil aviation and directly threatened the lives of civilian passengers.”

According to Reuters, two civilian planes en route to Beirut were forced to briefly divert their paths during the alleged Israeli strike. One plane belonging to Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines from Abu Dhabi had to hold in Syrian airspace before landing in Beirut, as did another plane from Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines.

Diab also stressed that "the Israeli enemy's continued violation of Lebanon's sovereignty constitutes a direct threat to UN Resolution 1701.”

Akar later condemned the airstrike, stating that it "blatantly violated Lebanon's airspace at low altitude, causing a state of panic among citizens." Akar also called on the UN to stop Israel from using Lebanese airspace for attacks on Syria.

UNITED NATIONS Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) commander Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col also criticized the IDF’s use of Lebanese airspace, taking to Twitter to say that it was a violation of Resolution 1701. 

“Overflights of Lebanese territory by Israeli fighter aircraft are violations of @UN Res. 1701 and of #Lebanon's sovereignty. I again call on the IDF to desist from such actions, which undermine #UNIFIL efforts to contain tensions and build confidence among the local population,” he said.

The strike was the second in two days after Israel was accused by Syria of having struck a military outpost near Quinetra late on Tuesday night.

SANA said that two missiles were fired in the strike “west of the town of Hadar in the northern Quneitra countryside.”

Videos sent to The Jerusalem Post and shared on social media showed a missile flying in the air before exploding. The video was taken from the town of Magdal Shams, which is on the Israeli side of the border in the Golan Heights.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the strike targeted a post belonging to Iranian-backed militias including the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah near the Druze town of Hadr.

Hadr lies just approximately 3 kilometers from the border between the two countries on the Golan Heights in the Quneitra province. 

Pro-opposition sources were quoted as saying that two sites were hit: one belonging to Hezbollah and the other being the office of Syrian First Division’s 90th Brigade commander Brig.-Gen. Hussein Hamoush.

Several hours later the IDF reportedly dropped pamphlets in the area warning Syrian soldiers to stop cooperating with Hezbollah, saying that, “despite our previous warnings about this and even after the attack on the al-Qahtaniah base on 17/06/21, Hezbollah — in a manipulative way — has turned you into a tool, into marionettes. It uses you as its eyes and it uses your bases without you even knowing.”

The pamphlets, which had the symbol of the IDF’s 210th Bashan Division, accused the SAA of allowing Hezbollah to operate within the 90th Brigade bases “in order to develop lookout capabilities and for other efforts.”

They also directly named the Hezbollah official that the military says is helping to strengthen ties between Iran and the SAA: Jawad Hasham, the son of Hajj Hashem who is the head of the group’s operations on the Golan.

“It is no secret that Jawad Hasham is currently in the Golan and in Daraa. Your filthy actions on behalf of Hezbollah are considered by the Syrian Army to be a top priority,” the pamphlets said.