Israeli airstrike targets sites near Baniyas

Smoke rises with an airstrike targeting the south of the Syrian capital, Damascus - July 20, 2020 (AFP)

Smoke rises with an airstrike targeting the south of the Syrian capital, Damascus - July 20, 2020 (AFP)

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Israeli warplanes launched raids early today, targeting sites around the city of Baniyas in Tartus province on the Syrian coast.

The Ministry of Defense in the Syrian regime’s government said today, Tuesday, July 9, that “the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression” from the Mediterranean direction west of Baniyas, targeting a site in the city’s vicinity, resulting in “some material losses.”

The ministry did not provide further details about the nature of the targeted sites.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition organization based in London, said that explosions were heard in Baniyas, Syria. The Saudi channel “Al Arabiya” reported from the Observatory’s director that the cause of the explosion was not known, but it was noted that Iranian ships regularly arrive at the Baniyas port.

Israeli media outlets, including Yedioth Ahronoth, only briefly mentioned the explosions on the Syrian coast, citing opposition media.

Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the targeting as of the time this report was published.

Israel targets infrastructure and headquarters of Iran-backed armed groups in Syria, which can be deep within Syrian territory, and frequently responds to sources of gunfire from southern Syria.

Israeli airstrikes in Syria had calmed after a swift escalation that began when Israel bombed an Iranian consulate building in the Mezzeh district of Damascus. Iran responded about ten days later with a barrage of missiles and drones towards Israel, but they did not reach their destination.

Since early May, attacks have resumed, targeting Iranian military personnel in Syrian provinces, including Homs and Damascus.

On June 10, Reuters reported, citing seven regional officials, diplomats, and Syrian officers, that Israel intensified its covert strikes in Syria against weapon sites, supply routes, and leaders linked to Iran, in preparation for the threat of a broad attack on Hezbollah, Iran’s main ally in Lebanon.

Also, on June 27, Israeli warplanes raided military sites of regime forces in the eastern countryside of As-Suwayda province and other sites around the capital, Damascus.

 

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