Syrian air defenses foil Israeli missiles as some hit Syrian military positions

Li Jiayao

DAMASCUS, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian air defenses destroyed tens of Israeli missiles that were fired at Syrian positions before dawn Thursday, but some of the missiles hit their targets in Syria, the state TV reported.

The Israeli missiles targeted air defense battalions, radars, and arms depots, the state TV said, spelling no further details about the exact location of the targeted sites.

The missiles of the Syrian air defenses lit up the sky over Damascus while tracking the Israeli missiles and destroying them, sending a rattling sound that reverberated across the city like thunder.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the intense Israeli missile attacks targeted positions of the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the Iranians in different parts of Syria.

A UK-based watchdog group said the Israelis targeted the Syrian positions near the capital Damascus and its countryside, central Syria, and the southern province of Qunaitera near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Dumair air base in the eastern part of Qalamoun region in the northern countryside of the capital Damascus is believed to have been hit, the group said, adding that the Israeli missiles fell near a position where Iranian fighters are stationed in that area.

The Israeli attack left big damages and losses in the offensive that started in the southern province of Qunaitera and expanded to other Syrian areas.

The Israeli attack started when the Israelis on Wednesday evening targeted military positions in Qunaitera, which pushed the Syrian side to shell Israeli military positions in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The cross-border tension expanded and the Israelis started shelling other military posts in Syria.

The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV released a report about the targeted Israelis sites in Golan Heights.

The targeted Israeli military sites are a military reconnaissance center, a position for border security, a military center for electronic jamming, a military center for spying on wireless and wired networks, a communication station, an observatory for precision weapons, a gunships heliport, the headquarters of the regional military command of brigade-810, the command center of the military battalion in Hermon, and the winter headquarters of the special snow unit, according to the report.

This tension comes a day after Israel targeted a Syrian military site in the Kisweh area in the southwestern countryside of Damascus, as activists said 15 fighters were killed, including eight Iranians.

Last month, the Israelis targeted two military sites in Syria where Iranian fighters were located, including the T-4 air base in central Syria.

The Israeli attack comes amid heightened tension with Iran, following last month Israeli attacks on Syrian positions where Iranian military experts were located. It also comes after the United States announced withdrawal from the international nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday.

It's the second large-scale missile strike on Syria since April when the United States and its Western allies launched a series of missile strikes on Syrian military positions in retaliation to allegations of chemical weapons use on a former rebel-held area east of Damascus.

But the confrontation with Israel early Thursday was long and more intense, reflecting the boiling tension between Israel on one side and Iran and Syria on the other.

Israel has repeatedly said it was not going to tolerate an Iranian military presence inside Syria, and targeted several positions where Iranian fighters were believed to have been stationed in recent years.

The Thursday attack was major Israeli-Syrian confrontation since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.



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