Syria and Israel blame each other for missile strikes -Update

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Syrian forces opened fire on “enemy targets” near Damascus Tuesday after Israeli air strikes wounded three soldiers, state media reported. Israel’s army said it activated its defence systems after anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria.

France 24 reports that SANA (Syrian State media agency) said that Syrian air defences opened fire on “enemy targets” near Damascus on Tuesday, with a war monitor reporting an Israeli air strike. The official SANA news agency and the state broadcaster both reported that air defences opened fire on “enemy targets” to “confront” them, without giving further details.

SANA said “a number of enemy targets were downed” by the air defences.

“It’s an Israeli raid,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. “Missiles fired from Israeli planes targeted… arms depots southwest and south of Damascus that belong to Hezbollah or Iranian forces,” he added.

Al Jazeera reports that “Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency earlier reported that Israeli jets were flying at low altitude over parts of southern Lebanon. Nearly an hour after the attacks began, Damascus residents could still hear the air defence units firing towards targets in the air.  There was no immediate comment by the Israeli military on the report.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on reports of a strike in Syria when contacted by AFP.

But the military added in a statement: “An aerial defence system went off against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria. No damage or injuries were reported.”

Experts say Israel is to be greatly affected by US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of American forces from Syria, as it would leave the area open to Iran and its partners to develop their military capacity in the neighbouring country.

Israel, which had praised Trump’s policies in the Middle East, has vowed not to let Tehran get a foothold in Syria.

France 24, AFP, Al Jazeera

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