Explosion in Cyprus capital came from stray Syrian missile - report

The suspected projectile hit a Cyprus mountain north of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, a mere 140 miles from the Syria border.

By
July 3, 2019 11:40
2 minute read.
Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus,Syria early April 14, 2018.

Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus,Syria early April 14, 2018. . (photo credit: REUTERS/FERAS MAKDESI)

A stray Syrian missile landed in Cyprus over the weekend, launched by the country after Israeli Air Force jets allegedly struck targets in the country on Sunday night. 

The projectile hit a Cyprus mountain north of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, a mere 140 miles from the Syria border.

No casualties were reported after the errant missile hit the Tashkent region, however there were conflicting reports about the number of missiles that struck the country with residents reporting a "light in the sky" followed by "three loud explosions," according to the BBC.

The markings on the suspected missile debris matches those found on a Russian-made S-200 air-defense missile that struck turkey in July of 2018 - linking it to the Syrian defense system based off of the time it happened and forensic investigations performed on the matter.

According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), nine Syrian and foreign pro-government militia members were killed as well as six civilians including an infant. Another 21 people were reported to have been injured by the airstrikes, which struck targets around Damascus, Homs and the Syrian border with Lebanon.

A number of civilian homes in Sahnaya sustained damage in the strike.

Syria’s SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying that “Army air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli warplanes at midnight from Lebanese airspace towards some of our military sites in Homs and the surrounding of Damascus.”

SOHR said the several Hezbollah fighters were killed in the strikes which targeted Iranian-linked bases near Homs and at least 10 targets near Damascus including Jamraya scientific research institute, arms depots belonging to Hezbollah near the Syrian-Lebanese border, a research center in Homs and an airbase south of Homs that is used by Iran and Hezbollah.

The scientific research center in Jamraya was established during the 1980s and is believed to be one of the most important research centers in the country with weapons developed and stored there. An Iranian base has also been established in its vicinity, with several buildings which likely house soldiers and military vehicles.

Israeli jets are believed to have targeted the facility in the past, with strikes reported in 2013, 2017 and – most recently – in February 2018.

According to local reports, the al-Mezzeh airbase – home to the headquarters of the notorious Air Force intelligence service and its prison – was also attacked. It has been hit by several alleged Israeli airstrikes in the past.

Israel has been carrying out airstrikes in the war-torn country against Hezbollah and Iranian targets, and has stressed that it will continue to operate when necessary.

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are redlines for the Jewish state.

Syrian air defenses are largely antiquated Soviet-era systems, with SA-2s, SA-5s and SA-6s, as well as the more sophisticated tactical surface-to-air missiles such as the SA-17s and SA-22 systems. Moscow has also supplied the short range Pantsir S-1 to the Assad regime.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report


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