Israeli missile strike hits site near Damascus, says Syria

Increasing use of surface-to-surface missiles raises questions about the Israeli Air Force’s freedom of movement in Syrian skies.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israeli missiles struck a target near Damascus on Wednesday morning, Syrian media reports said.

Syria’s state-controlled SANA News Agency claimed Israel fired a pair of surface-to-surface missiles at what it described as an “empty warehouse” and causing no casualties. SANA also claimed that one of the missiles was intercepted by Syrian air defense systems. Syria frequently boasts of intercepting Israeli missiles, though analysts dismiss those claims.

SANA did not indicate the nature of the building or why it might have been targeted. Israeli officials did not comment on the strike, in line with Jerusalem’s policy of never commenting on specific air strikes.

The use of surface-to-surface missiles may reflect shifts in the Israeli Air Force’s freedom of movement in Syria. In October, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Israeli strikes have continued, but several of attacks were reportedly by surface-to-surface missiles, rather than by air craft.

For years, Putin has largely turned a blind eye to Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria. However, the strikes have caused some embarrassment for Moscow as Syrian air defenses prominently include Russian-made systems.

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Over the past several years, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes throughout Syria on weapons warehouses, communications facilities, drone facilities and more belonging to Iran and its proxies. Jerusalem insists it will not allow Iran to entrench itself along the Israeli-Syrian border.