by: Ilse Strauss
Thursday, 1 September 2022 | For the second time in less than a week, Syria accused Israel of launching a series of airstrikes on the war-torn country. The missiles allegedly hit the Aleppo International Airport and an undisclosed site near the capital of Damascus. But as with every other time Israeli war planes take off for Syrian skies, the real target in Jerusalem’s crosshairs last night was, once again, Iran.
The overnight strike was reportedly executed in two consecutive sorties: the first targeting the Aleppo International Airport and the second striking near the capital Damascus.
“At nearly 8 p.m., the Israeli enemy targeted Aleppo International Airport with a missile strike that caused material damage to the airport,” a military source told Syrian state news agency SANA.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) provided more detail. According to the UK-based opposition war monitor, “Four Israeli shells hit a runway of the Aleppo International Airport and warehouses in its vicinity, causing fire and explosions to erupt, likely to be due to the explosion of a batch of Iranian missiles.”
Images published on social media corroborated SOHR’s report, showing several fires raging in the airport area.
About an hour later, SANA reported a second series of strikes, this time targeting the Damascus area. According to the news agency, Syrian air defenses were activated and downed a number of “hostile missiles,” a frequent but empty boast that few military analysts believe. SANA further added that the strike damaged several sites in the area of the capital, without elaborating further.
There were no reports of injuries or casualties in either strike.
For its part, Israel has refrained from commenting, in line with its longstanding policy of remaining mum on its supposed involvement in foreign operations. However, the powers-that-be in Jerusalem have admitted repeatedly to conducting numerous strikes in war-torn Syria to prevent Iran from gaining a military foothold on its doorstep and to thwart any attempts by its archenemy to smuggle game-changing ammunition from Tehran via Damascus to terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon to be used against Israel. In fact, according to the SOHR, this is supposedly Israel’s 23rd strike on Iranian targets in Syria in 2022 alone.
Last night’s strike appear to fit this profile. Aurora Intel, a network that provides news based on open-source intelligence, revealed that a sanctioned Iranian cargo plane landed at the Aleppo airport earlier yesterday, the Times of Israel reports. Iranian cargo airlines have reportedly been used in the past as a vehicle to smuggle relatively large weapons to Syria. These munitions are then stored in large warehouses before making their way by truck to Lebanon.
In an unverified report, the SOHR claimed that the strike on the Aleppo airport “likely” targeted four warehouses housing Iranian missiles.
Last night’s sorties come six nights after Israel reportedly struck several Iranian-linked targets in Syria’s northwestern Hama province in the Masyaf region. The Masyaf region is infamous as a base for Tehran’s forces and other pro-Iran militias, and has been targeted repeatedly in recent years in strikes generally attributed to Israel. The area is also home to the equally infamous Scientific Studies and Research Center, known as CERS, which Western officials believe manufactures chemical arms, including sarin gas.
At the time, SOHR claimed that the strike targeted Iran-backed militia positions, weapons warehouses as well as the CERS facility itself. Dubai-based Al Arabiya also chimed in, venturing that Israel had a Hezbollah ammunition warehouse near the city of Tartus in its crosshairs.
Perhaps the specifics of Israel’s operations against Iran in Syria will never be fully known. But when all the speculations, assumptions, and terms like reportedly, supposedly and apparently are said and done, one thing is sure: this wasn’t Jerusalem’s first foray into Syrian airspace to take on Tehran—and it certainly won’t be its last.
Posted on September 1, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 1, 2022)
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