Syrian soldier killed in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syria

The latest airstrike comes just over a week after an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted containers at the Latakia port in northwestern Syria.

 Smoke rises after airstrikes on a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria, June 15, 2017 (illustrative). (photo credit: REUTERS/ALAA AL-FAQIR)
Smoke rises after airstrikes on a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria, June 15, 2017 (illustrative).
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALAA AL-FAQIR)

A Syrian soldier was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting sites in southern Syria on Wednesday night, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. Material damage was also reported.

The report claimed that most of the Israeli missiles were shot down by Syrian air defenses. Initial reports on Thursday indicated that the strikes hit targets near Shahba in southern Syria, as well as near the Damascus International Airport. At least one of the targets was reportedly an air defense system.

A military cargo flight from Tehran reportedly landed in Damascus earlier on Wednesday. Israeli airstrikes often take place after flights between Tehran and Damascus, as the flights often carry military equipment to Syria meant for pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The latest airstrike comes just over a week after an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted containers at the Latakia port in northwestern Syria. The Latakia area is a stronghold for Russian forces in Syria, with the Russian Khmeimim Air Base located near Latakia.

Russian news agencies, citing a Russian military official, said Syrian armed forces destroyed seven of eight missiles fired by Israeli F-16 fighter jets towards targets in the region of the Damascus airport.

THE VINEYARD of Domaine Bargylus near the port city of Latakia in Syria.  (credit: ADAM MONTEFIORE)THE VINEYARD of Domaine Bargylus near the port city of Latakia in Syria. (credit: ADAM MONTEFIORE)

Rear-Admiral Vadim Kulit was quoted as saying that a warehouse was damaged and one man was killed by the air strike in the early hours of Thursday.

He said four F-16 Israeli fighter jets launched the cruise missile strike from the Golan Heights.

Last week, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad warned that Israel would respond to Israeli airstrikes against Syria, saying that such attacks “could not go unanswered.”

In November, a number of alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted Syria, with a number of casualties reported.

Over the past year, while Israeli strikes have intensified in Syria, the response time by Syrian air defense batteries has quickened, leading the Israel Air Force to alter its tactics during such operations – such as using larger formations so that they can strike more targets at once during an operation instead of having jets return to the same target.

Iran has begun deploying advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries to the region in an attempt to challenge Israeli jets.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.