DAMASCUS, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli warplanes infiltrated the Syrian airspace on a low altitude on Tuesday, targeting Syrian military sites in the central province of Hama and northwestern province of Tartus, the Syrian army said.
The Israeli warplanes penetrated the Syrian airspace coming from over the Lebanese territories, more specifically from the western side of Beirut city in Lebanon and moved north into Syria, said the statement.
The Syrian air defenses intercepted much of the Israeli missiles and forced the Israeli warplanes to flee, said the army statement, stopping short of specifically identifying the targeted facilities.
The state-run TV said the Israeli attack targeted the Wadi al-Oyoun area in Hama province while activists said that a scientific research center in the city of Baniyas in Tartus was also targeted.
In July, the Israelis targeted the scientific research center in the town of Masyaf in Hama countryside.
A month later, Aziz Asber, a senior Syrian scientist running the research centers in Masyaf, was assassinated in the same area. The assassination was blamed on Israel as Asber was reportedly running a missile program with the help of the Iranians.
Israel repeatedly claimed it was targeting Iranian positions in Syria with its official stressing that Israel will not tolerate Iranian presence in Syria.
The fresh escalation comes as the U.S. and its Western allies were threatening the Syrian side with the use of force over allegations that the government side is planning a chemical attack in Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.
Damascus read the threats as the Western powers' way to hinder the government forces' planned assault in Idlib under false pretexts of chemical weapons' use.