Syria says Israel attacked areas round southern Damascus

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Israel targets Iran-backed strongholds in second assault in lower than a month on outskirts of Syrian capital.

The Syrian military mentioned on Sunday night that Israeli-fired rockets struck elements of southern Damascus in escalating assaults that regional intelligence sources mentioned goal Iran-linked property.

A Syrian military assertion mentioned the assault got here from the Golan Heights and that it had introduced down a lot of the missiles, within the second such assault in lower than a month on the outskirts of the capital.

An Israeli navy spokesman declined to touch upon the report.

Israel has struck a wider vary of targets than typical for the reason that begin of the 12 months, together with a significant assault on Iranian-linked strongholds additional east, near the Iraqi border.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Friday mentioned Israel was taking motion “almost weekly” to stop Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Regional intelligence sources mentioned Iran’s Quds Force and the militias it backs, whose presence has unfold in Syria in recent times, have a robust presence within the Sayeda Zainab neighbourhood of southern Damascus the place the militias have many underground bases.

Israel has repeatedly attacked what it says are Iranian-linked targets in Syria in recent times, and stepped up such raids this 12 months in what Western intelligence sources have described as a shadow conflict to cut back Iran’s affect.

Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi mentioned in December Israel had struck greater than 500 targets in 2020.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities has by no means publicly acknowledged there are Iranian forces working on his behalf in Syria’s civil conflict, solely that Tehran has despatched navy advisers.

The entry of hundreds of Shia militias, from Afghanistan to Lebanon, to battle alongside al-Assad helped the authoritarian ruler survive a widespread armed revolt that sprang from a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011.

Western intelligence sources say Israeli assaults this 12 months have undermined Iran’s in depth navy energy in Syria with out triggering a big improve in hostilities.

Iran has constructed underground tunnels and unfold decoys to assist mitigate the impact of repeated Israeli assaults on its elaborate navy infrastructure within the nation, Syria navy defectors have mentioned.