Lebanese and Syrian media reports claim that Israel’s Air Force carried out an overnight strike on Hezbollah-related targets near Syria’s capital Damascus last night.
Syrian and Lebanese media have provided conflicting reports of the incident. The Syrian al-Masdar news service reports that Israeli aircraft first flew through Lebanon before reaching Syria, while YNet says that Lebanese reports claim Israeli jets fired at a target near Damascus while in Lebanese airspace. The same Lebanese reports says that the target was Hezbollah military buses at a Syrian Army base in the al-Katif suburb of Damascus. Syrian media reports say that the target was Hezbollah weaponry.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit declined to respond to the overnight media reports and there has been no comment from Israeli officials.
Israel has remained firmly on the sidelines of the Syrian Civil War. However, senior Israeli officials have admitted to periodically carrying out strikes on targets in Syria, in order to prevent the transfer of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon for potential use against Israel. Hezbollah is a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad and routinely fights alongside Syrian government forces, playing an important role in the Syrian army’s recent gains.
Al-Assad’s forces claim that last month and in December Israeli surface-to-air missiles hit the Mezzeh airbase, and that in a separate incident Israeli jets fired two missiles towards the outskirts of Damascus.
In a separate development yesterday, ISIS fighters captured Syrian territory near the Israeli and Jordanian borders in a surprise attack against anti-Assad opposition groups, taking control of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua in the Golan area.
Syrian opposition military leader Colonel Ismail Ayoub told Reuters: “In a surprise attack, ISIS made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army groups which no one expected to happen so fast.”
Reuters said that Jordanian security forces along the Syrian border have been placed in a state of heightened readiness.