Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman looks at Syria from the Golan Heights.
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The Syrian regime accused Israel of striking a Syrian army base near Aleppo late Sunday night, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.
“The Zionist enemy returned in its desperate attempts to support defeated terror organizations in Deraa and in Quneitra and it attacked, using missiles, one of our military outposts north of the Nayrab Airport.
Damage was caused to property only,” SANA said, quoting a military source.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday, however, that nine Syrian soldiers were said to have been killed in the attack.
Unconfirmed reports said the strikes lasted up to 10 minutes with several aircraft taking part.
The IDF did not comment on these reports.
Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power have been retaking large swathes of territory on the Syrian Golan Heights from rebel groups along the Israeli border. Iranian forces and affiliated Shi’ite militias are also said to be playing a minor role in the offensive.
The strikes came before a meeting between US President Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki where Syria is expected to be discussed.
Israel is concerned that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime will allow Iran and its Shi’ite proxy militias and Hezbollah to entrench themselves near Israel’s Golan Heights.
Defense Minister Avgidor Liberman says Israel will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria an a tour of the Golan Heights with IDF officers, July 10, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman last week said that Israel has “identified elements” belonging to Iran and its Shi’ite proxy militias who are trying to establish themselves on the Golan Heights.
“This effort to establish a terrorist infrastructure under the auspices of the regime, as far as we are concerned, is unacceptable and we will act with force against any terrorist infrastructure that we will see and identify here in the region,” Liberman warned.
“We are not prepared to accept an Iranian presence in Syria anywhere. As you have heard more than once, we will act against any Iranian consolidation in Syria,” the defense minister said.
On Friday, a Syrian drone flew some 10 kilometers into northern Israeli territory before being intercepted by a Patriot missile and falling south of the Sea of Galilee
. It was the second Syrian drone to fly into Israel in a week. Two weeks earlier a Patriot missile was fired toward a drone approaching Israel’s Golan Heights from Syria. According to the IDF, the UAV was not hit and retreated from the border area following the missile launch.
Israeli jets have carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, and Israel is accused of striking several military bases in northern Syria in April, with explosions following that strike registering as a 2.6 magnitude earthquake by the European Mediterranean Seismological Center. According to opposition reports, some 40 people were killed and another 60 were wounded in the strikes, which targeted army bases being used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
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