| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Syria says it repels Israeli strike, anti-aircraft missile fragments hit Israel

Syria said it repulsed a missile barrage from Israel on Sunday, after parts of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile struck a rural village without injuring anybody.

In recent months, Israel has increased its raids on Syrian airports and air bases in order to impede Iran’s growing use of aerial supply lines to carry weaponry to allies in Syria and Lebanon, particularly Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

According to Syrian official media, air defenses intercepted and destroyed the majority of Israeli missiles launched throughout the country’s central regions. According to a Syrian army statement, missiles that flew over areas of Lebanon’s capital Beirut landed places near the city of Homs, causing mainly material damage.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

An Israeli military spokesperson said warplanes struck targets including a Syrian air defense battery from which an anti-aircraft missile was launched towards Israel.

After a mid-air explosion heard across Israel, remnants of the Syrian missile landed in Rahat, a town some 180 km (110 miles) south of the armistice line between the countries, Israeli police said. There was no word of any casualties.

Local media showed what appeared to be the blackened front end of a large missile, standing upright in an open area among residential buildings, and tail-fins in a field.

The Israeli military said its warplanes were unscathed.

The Israeli strikes are part of an escalation of what has been a low-intensity conflict continuing for years with a goal of slowing Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, Israeli military experts say.

Tehran’s influence has grown in Syria since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war that started in 2011.

Fighters allied to Iran, including Hezbollah, now hold sway in areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria and in several suburbs around the capital.

  • Reuters