Israeli airstrikes inside Syrian capital Damascus in the early hours of Sunday killed an unspecified number of people, according to Syrian state news outlet SANA.
The attack happened after the midnight, when loud explosions were reported from a residential area in the capital city. SANA said the air defenses were confronting hostile targets in the sky around Damascus.
According to a Reuters report, at least five people have been killed in the attack, which the news agency called a 'rocket strike'.
The report adds that the strike targeted a heavily guarded security complex in central Damascus's Kafr Sousa neighborhood. It adds that the targeted building in an area that hosts Iranian installations.
Attacks Inside Syria
*** Israel has targeted suspected Iranian installations inside Syria for years. In a major strike in 20008, top Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh was killed by Tel Aviv through an air strike the Kafr Sousa neighborhood in Damascus.
*** In 2019, in a sensational attacks near Damascus Israel killed a top commander of the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Akram al-Ajouri.
*** Also in July 2022, the IDF carried out attacks Damascus, killing at least five Syrian soldiers and several more members of Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias.
*** In August 2022, Israel conducted multiple airstrikes inside Syria, killing at least three Syrian soldiers and wounding several more. According to Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper, the air strikes happened days after Israeli tanks targeted observation posts in Syria allegedly run by the Hezbollah. Prior to the latest attacks, the IDF had dropped flyers warning the Syrian military against cooperating with Hezbollah and Iranian militias, the JPost reported.
*** In January 2023, the Syrian army said Israel fired missiles at the international airport in Damascus, killing two soldiers.
Shadow War With Iran
Though Israel has carried out numerous of strikes targeting high-profile security buildings in Damascus, Tel Aviv usually does not acknowledges such operations. Israel, however, sticks to its policy of taking down targets connected to Iran-allied militant groups like the Hezbollah.
Israel has been monitoring the expansion of Iranian footprint in coastal Syria, which are seen as long-term threat to the Jewish state.
In May 2022, Israeli and Russian military narrowly avoided a mishap when Tel Avis's military jets came under Russian anti-aircraft fire over Syria. The Israeli strikes happened at a place close to the Russian navy's only Mediterranean base in the port of Tartus. The strike happened when Russian warships were docked in the region.
Russia usually ignores Israeli attacks on Iranian-sponsored outposts and installations in the region, though Russia supported Bashar al Assad against the twin attacks his administration faced for years from the Sunni Islamist terrorist outfits as well as the US and its Middle East allies.
Iran's Increasing Presence in Syria
Iran has been stepping up its presence and influence inside Syria for years and this process got a boost in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war that started in 2012. Iranian militias and paramilitary groups have built up sizeable presence around the capital Damascus, as well as on the southern coastal regions closer to Israel.
Responding to the threat Israel has been on high alert, targeting and taking down key Iranian installations in the region including capital Damascus.