Syrian air defenses intercept Israeli attack over Aleppo

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Syria’s air defenses on Monday intercepted an Israeli attack on Al-Safirah area in the southern countryside of Aleppo, Syrian state TV and news agency SANA reported.

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An unidentified military official quoted by SANA said Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles in the attack that occurred just before midnight and that the targets are still being identified.

The reports offered no further details. There was no immediate comment from Israel.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has activists on the ground in Syria, said the Israeli strikes targeted weapons depots that belong to Iranian-backed militia operating in Al-Safirah.

The group said the strikes were followed by loud explosions and that the weapons depots were located inside Syrian military posts.

The attack took place on the eve of Eid Al-Adha, one of Islam’s holiest holidays.

, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that eight people were killed in an alleged Israeli missile strike over Damascus. Earlier, Syrian air defenses intercepted an Israeli missile strike over Damascus, the Syrian capital, Syrian state media reported, while military defectors said the missiles may have targeted Iranian-backed militias.

That incident came nearly a month after Syrian state TV reported that an Israeli helicopter  on a home in the Syrian Golan Heights, days after it also reported a similar attack by an Israeli helicopter in Quneitra. Also in early May, Syrian state media reported that Israel had fired missiles at towns near Latakia, a regime stronghold and the site of a Russian air base, killing one person and wounding six. 

In late April, Syria attributed an attack near Damascus to Israel, and that same night an anti-aircraft missile launched by Syria toward an Israeli jet exploded near Dimona in southern Israel. Israel’s military said the missile, which set off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, was the result of a misfire and not a deliberate attack. Earlier in April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israel had carried out a missile attack near Damascus that killed at least three pro-Iranian fighters.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. 

Israel fears Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for .

Western intelligence sources have said Israel’s stepped-up strikes on Syria since last year are part of a shadow war approved by the United States. The strikes are also part of an anti-Iran policy that in the last two years has undermined Iran’s extensive military power without triggering a major increase in hostilities.

The intelligence sources said that Israel has over the past year expanded its targets across Syria, where thousands of Iranian-backed militias have been involved in regaining much of the territory lost by Syrian President Bashar Assad to insurgents in a nearly decade-old civil war.

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