Syria fires on Israeli missiles over Damascus

DAMASCUS: Syrian anti-aircraft defences on Saturday fired at ‘enemy targets’ over Damascus, state media said, as the Israeli military said it struck to prevent an Iranian force from launching an attack on the Jewish state with drones armed with explosives..

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported “probable Israeli air strikes”.

“At 2330 (2030 GMT) anti-aircraft defences detected enemy targets from Golan heading towards the area around Damascus”, said a Syrian military source quoted by the official Sana news agency.

“The aggression was immediately confronted and so far the majority of the enemy Israeli missiles have been destroyed before reaching their targets,” the source added.

An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several large explosions before Sana announced the defensive action.

“The aggression is still going on and the air defence is able to counter the targets, dropping most of them” in the south of the country, the Sana agency said.

Since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite group that supports Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad, who is also backed by Tehran.

Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch-foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs Assad’s regime.

The Jewish state insists that it has the right to continue to target positions held by Iran and its ally Hezbollah out of self-defence.

The Syrian conflict has killed more than 370,000 people and drawn in world powers since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.