By Tony Winterburn • 28 February 2021 • 22:47
Syrian Air Defence System Downs Israeli Missiles Aimed At Damascus. image: twitter
Syrian Air Defence System Downs Israeli Missiles Aimed At Damascus.
The Syrian government claims to have shot down Israeli missiles over the capital of Damascus tonight, Sunday, – just days after President Biden launched his first military action targeting Iran-backed militias in the country. Syrian air defences were activated in the capital, as well as its southern suburbs, to repel an Israeli missile attack, according to Syrian state media.
State TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that most of the Israeli missiles were shot down before reaching their targets near Damascus. Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
Western intelligence sources say Iran’s military influence has expanded in Syria in recent years, prompting Israel to escalate its campaign to prevent its arch-rival from establishing a major military foothold along its border.
Iran’s proxy militias, led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, now hold sway over vast areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria, as well as several suburbs around Damascus. They also control Lebanese-Syrian border areas.
Israel, which in the last two months staged some of its biggest strikes yet inside Syria, has concentrated on Al Bukamal, the Syrian city that controls the border checkpoint on the main Baghdad-Damascus highway.
The widening military campaign was part of a so-called “campaign within wars”, which, according to Israeli generals and regional intelligence sources, have been tacitly approved by the United States.
The operations that aim to prevent Tehran from changing the balance of power in Syria in its favour have gradually eroded Iran’s extensive military power without triggering a major increase in hostilities, regional intelligence sources say.
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