The alleged strike is the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, showing that the deconfliction mechanism between Israel and Russia is still in place in Syria.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Syrian government-run media reported Monday that Israel carried out an airstrike near Damascus in the early hours of the morning that killed two people.
The official state mouthpiece said that Syrian air defenses were activated and loud explosions were heard in the area.
Another Syrian source said that several unnamed targets had been hit and that two civilians were killed, although the deaths could have been caused by the fall of anti-aircraft missiles.
The IDF has not commented on the alleged operation.
If true, this would be the first time Israel has allegedly hit Syria since Russian forces invaded Ukraine nearly two weeks ago.
When Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow on Saturday in an attempt to mediate the conflict, he also reportedly discussed the continuation of the current deconfliction mechanism in place between Israel and Russia in Syria, which allows for IDF action against Iranian targets there without Russian interference.
MK Ran Ben Barak, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, commented on Radio 103FM Monday, “I don’t know how much it has to do with the Bennett-Putin meeting. We have the understandings with the Russians are fortunately being kept even now, when we are working to defend ourselves. I don’t think that was the purpose of the trip, it may have come up.”
According to foreign reports, this has been at least the eighth Israeli airstrike on targets on its northern neighbor in 2022. Israel has conducted thousands of air sorties in Syria over recent years in what it calls the “war between the wars” to prevent Iranian entrenchment so close to its borders.
The Syrian report came just a few hours after the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit publicized an airstrike the IAF carried out exactly a year ago in which, “for the first time in the world,” Israel’s F-35 Stealth bombers were used to intercept two Iranian UAVs that were on their way from the Islamic Republic to the Gaza Strip.
The unmanned vehicles, which had a payload of handguns, were under constant observation on their flight path before being shot down, the IDF said.
In the army’s estimation, this was an attempt by Iran to see whether it was possible to use this method to supply weapons to its Hamas terrorist proxy, which rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist and is unalterably opposed to Israel’s existence.