At least 15 killed during alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria – report

Explosions were heard in Damascus on Sunday night. According to local reports, the target is the al-Mezzeh airbase, which has been hit by several alleged Israeli airstrikes in the past.

Israel allegedly strikes Syria killing at least 15 people
At least 15 people, including civilians and an infant, were killed by large-scale alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria, which also saw an anti-aircraft missile fired by the Assad regime land in Cyprus.
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.
Following the strike the remains of a possible Russian-made S-200 anti-aircraft missile fired by the Syrian regime crashed north of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. There were no casualties reported.
Kudret Ozersay – foreign minister of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey – was quoted by Reuters as saying that “Initial findings indicate the object that caused the explosion was either an aircraft carrying explosives or a direct explosive [missile]. The writings and signs on the debris will allow us to understand exactly what happened soon.”
According to Ozersay, the missile – of which pieces of it were found near the village of Tashkent (or Vouno in Greek) – likely blew up mid-flight and there was no impact crater.
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.