Syria says Israel launched missile attack near Damascus


(JTA) — Syria’s state news agency blamed a missile attack near Damascus on Israel that a watchdog group said killed 12 Iran-backed soldiers.

The airstrikes took place at about 1 a.m. Thursday, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency, or SANA, which reported that eight soldiers were wounded.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based watchdog group, reported that most of the missiles fired hit their targets, which included at least three government and Iranian positions near Damascus. It reported the death toll of the Iran-backed soldiers.

SANA said that Syrian air defenses “managed to shoot down most of the hostile missiles before reaching their targets,” though this often is propaganda. The report said that the Israeli airstrikes originating in the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon were carried out in several waves and targeted the Damascus and southern region.

Syria’s military also accused Turkey of colluding with Israel on the attacks, noting that Turkish forces breached its border with Syria and attacked Syrian forces “under a cover of the Israeli aggression,” which it said “confirms the unity of goals between the Turkish regime and the Israeli entity in protecting terrorists,” SANA reported.

The Israeli military has not commented on reports of the strikes.

Israel has acknowledged some past airstrikes on Syria, and in recent months reportedly has struck Iranian targets in Syria, including intelligence centers, weapons depots, storage facilities, observation posts and logistics centers, as well as the T4 airbase near Homs, in northern Syria, which is believed to be controlled by Iran.

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