Syria Says Israeli Airstrikes Hit Buildings in Damascus, At Least 5 Dead

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
February 19, 2023Middle Eastshare
Syria Says Israeli Airstrikes Hit Buildings in Damascus, At Least 5 Dead
A view of the Marjeh Square and the Barada river in the centre of Syria's capital Damascus, on Dec. 15, 2021. (Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

Airstrikes from Israel that hit a neighborhood in Syria’s Damascus known to have heavily-guarded Iranian installations have killed at least five people, according to Syrian state news.

Syrian state media agency SANA reported, citing a military source, that Israel had carried out airstrikes targeting several areas in Syria’s capital shortly after midnight on Sunday morning.

Loud explosions were heard over the capital around 12:30 a.m. local time.

The strike hit central Damascus’s densely populated neighborhood of Kafr Sousa, a heavily guarded area where residents say several Iranian security agencies are located, including a major cultural centre. The neighborhood was where pro-Iran Hezbollah’s top commander Imad Moughniyeh was killed in 2008 in a bombing.

At least five people were killed, with a soldier among the five dead, SANA reported, citing the military source. At least another 15 people, all civilians, were wounded, several of whom were listed in critical condition. The source said that the missile came from the direct of Golan Heights.

Footage posted by state media showed a 10-story building badly damaged, with its lower floor structures crushed, per Arab News.

The rocket strike “caused damage to several civilian homes and material damage to a number of neighborhoods in Damascus and its vicinity,” the Syrian army said in a statement.

Syrian air defenses were “confronting hostile targets in the sky around Damascus,” according to SANA.

Israel has, for almost a decade, been carrying out hundreds of air strikes in state-controlled parts of Syria. But Israeli officials rarely take responsibility for, or discuss, specific operations.

Israeli airstrikes often target sites in the vicinity of Damascus. Tel Aviv says targeted strikes in Syria are part of efforts to resist the Iranian regime’s foreign interference in Syria. Iran’s proxy militias, led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, now have influence in areas in eastern, southern, and northwestern Syria, and in several suburbs around Damascus.

Israel has acknowledged that it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. His government has never publicly acknowledged that Iranian forces operate on his behalf in Syria’s civil war, saying Iran has only military advisers on the ground.

In the latest strike, Israel’s military did not issue a statement. It was not immediately clear whether the strike was aimed at a specific individual.

The air strikes early Sunday morning were the first since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6. The death toll from the quake has surpassed 46,000.

The last reported attack on Damascus was on Jan. 2. The Syrian army said that Israel’s military fired missiles toward the international airport of Damascus, putting it temporarily out of service, and killing two soldiers and wounding two others.

Israel has in recent months intensified strikes on Syrian airports and air bases to disrupt suspected efforts by the Iranian regime to funnel weapons into Syria.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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