Syrian state media said that Israeli missile strikes near Damascus killed two people

Official media reported that Israeli missile strikes killed at least two civilians before dawn on Monday near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The official Syrian news agency (SANA), quoting a military source, said that Israel carried out the strikes at about five in the morning (0300 GMT), targeting sites south of the capital.

“Our air defense systems intercepted the missiles and shot down most of them,” SANA added. “Civilians were killed and material damage was caused,” she added, without elaborating.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes targeted “a weapons and ammunition depot run by Iranian-backed militias near Damascus International Airport”.

The War Monitor, which relies on an extensive network of sources inside Syria, said it could not confirm the civilian death toll.

According to the observatory, Israel has launched raids in Syria at least seven times since the beginning of the year. The Observatory said Israeli raids near the capital last month killed two Syrian soldiers and four Iranian-backed fighters.

Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes inside the country, targeting government sites as well as Iranian-backed coalition forces and Shiite Hezbollah fighters.

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, it has acknowledged a surge in hundreds since 2011.

The Israeli military has defended the strikes as a necessary measure to prevent its arch-rival Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

The conflict in Syria began with a brutal suppression of peaceful protests and escalated to attract foreign powers and global jihadists. Nearly 500,000 people were killed.


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