Syria’s air defences intercept suspected Israeli missiles

Damascus: Syrian air defences responded on Thursday evening to a suspected Israeli missile attack on military targets in southern Syria, media reported.

State TV reported that Syrian air force fired anti-air missiles in response to the strike, adding that all enemy targets were destroyed and that the foreign attack failed to achieve its intended goals, reports Xinhua news agency.

It said the attack took place over the town of Kisweh in the southern countryside of the Syrian capital Damascus.

While the official Syrian media outlets hinted that Israel is behind the attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group based in Britain, explicitly stated that Israel carried out the attack in the southern and southwestern countryside of Damascus near the administrative border with the southern province of Quneitra.

The watchdog said the Syrian air defences were firing a number of missiles to intercept the Israeli missiles.

Meanwhile, the pro-government Sham FM radio said two explosions were heard in the vicinity of the town of Al-Dimass in the western countryside of Damascus in tandem with the missile attack in southern Damascus.

Israel has repeatedly targeted military positions in Syria, including Kisweh.

If Israel is proved to be behind the attack, it would be the its first attack on Syrian targets since September, when it attacked military sites in Syria and led to the downing of a Russian surveillance aircraft by missiles mistakenly fired by Syrian air force in response to the Israeli attack.

After the September attack, during which 15 Russian servicemen were killed, Russia and the Syrian government blamed Israel for the crash, and Moscow was quick to equip Damascus with the advanced S-300 air defence system.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told Xinhua in September that the arrival of Russia’s S-300 to Syria would push Israel to reconsider before striking Syria again.

Israeli usually claims that its strikes target Iranian positions or weapons in Syria that could end up in the hands of the Hezbollah group in Lebanon.