Israeli air strikes target Damascus, southern Syria: Defense ministry

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Israeli air strikes hit near the Syrian capital Damascus and in the country’s south on Thursday, the defense ministry and state media said.

“At approximately 23:05 (20:05 GMT) today, the Israeli enemy carried out air strikes from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the southern region,” the defense ministry said in a statement, reporting no casualties.

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Israel rarely comments on strikes targeting Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow arch-foe Iran, which backs President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to expand its presence in the country.

“Our air defenses are intercepting hostile targets in the vicinity of Damascus,” official news agency SANA said.

“An Israeli attack targeted the vicinity of the capital Damascus,” state television said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported Israeli strikes targeting a Syrian air defense position in the country’s southern Sweida province, as well as near Damascus international airport.

The attack near the airport came “one whole day after the airport resumed flights,” said the British-based monitor with a network inside Syria.

Damascus international airport had been out of service since Israeli strikes targeted it in late November, just hours after flights resumed following similar attacks the previous month.

The airport was not damaged in the latest strike, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

But it has intensified attacks since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, as tensions rise across the Middle East.

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