Syria blames Israel for overnight strikes

Strikes reportedly targeted Iranian, Hezbollah targets; 8 pro-Iranian fighters said to have been killed.

IDF strikes target belonging to Syrian military in southern Syria after explosives found along Syrian border, Nov. 18, 2020 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF strikes target belonging to Syrian military in southern Syria after explosives found along Syrian border, Nov. 18, 2020
Syria has blamed Israel for a series of airstrikes on locations south of the capital Damascus and on the Golan Heights late Tuesday night.
Syria’s SANA news agency said that the strikes, near the village of Rwihinah, south of Quneitra near the Israeli border, and near Jabal Mane near the town of Kiswah south of Damascus, caused “only material damage.”
According to AFP, however, eight pro-Iranian fighters were killed in the strikes.
While there was no confirmation by either side of what was struck, according to military defectors who were quoted by Reuters, the target in Jabal Mane was a military base belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Israel has struck targets in Kiswah several times over the years as part of its “war between the wars” campaign against the continued entrenchment of Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Syria, including in July.
Other reports said that the attacks on the Golan Heights targeted a weapons depot and observation post belonging to Hezbollah’s Southern Headquarters.
According to a report by the ALMA Research and Education Center, Hezbollah’s presence in southern Syria is much larger than previously revealed, with some 58 sites in the southern Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Deraa, where the terrorist group’s Southern Command and Golan Project have been deployed.
The Southern Command, led by Munir Ali Na’im Shaiti, is the Hezbollah unit in charge of southern Syria, whose main function is to create a Hezbollah infrastructure in the area, gather intelligence on the IDF and train the Syrian Arab Army 1st Corps for war with Israel.
The report by ALMA found 28 sites where the Southern Command is deployed, “located from the border with Israel in the west to the Deraa-Damascus highway in the east, [and] from the village of Arana in the north of Quneitra province to the city of Deraa and its surroundings in the south.”
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry for Hezbollah, from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are redlines for the Jewish state.
Although Israel usually refrains from targeting terrorist operatives to avoid subsequent retaliation, some strikes ascribed to the Jewish state have killed several Hezbollah operatives in southern Syria on the Golan Heights, where the group has been trying to establish a permanent military presence.
Last week, Israel acknowledged a series of airstrikes against military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian army, in response to explosives that had been placed along the border by an Iranian terrorist cell.
The strikes hit eight targets from the Golan Heights to Damascus, including an Iranian military complex near Damascus International Airport; a secret military barracks that acts as a housing complex for senior Iranian officials as well as visiting delegations; a command post for Division 7 of the Syrian army, which cooperates with the Quds Force; and mobile surface-to-air missile trucks that fired toward Israeli jets during the strikes.