This picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on February 4, 2021, shows the border fence with the Syrian…
A picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights Feb. 4, 2021, shows the border fence with the Syrian governorate of Quneitra.

CAIRO - Syrian state TV showed government anti-air defense systems intercepting Israeli missiles along the Golan Heights near the town of Quneitra. Arab media reported that some of the Israeli missiles hit their intended targets.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on its Facebook page that positions belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah and another pro-government militia were hit, along with a Syrian army tank unit, which includes Iranian militiamen. VOA could not independently confirm the claim.

Amateur video also purported to show an attack on the Damascus airport. It was not clear what, if anything, was struck.

Syrian military analyst Col. Ali Maqsoud, however, said on state TV that government air defense systems along the Golan Heights were "capable of stopping attacks on targets in the capital, Damascus."

Russia reportedly sold its S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria in 2018. It is not clear if that was the system used to defend against the Israeli attack on Quneitra, however. Moscow sold its more modern S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to Turkey, last year.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, tells VOA that the Wednesday night Israeli attack follows several other recent Israeli attacks on pro-Iranian targets inside Syria.

He said that (the Wednesday attack) is a clear Israeli message addressed to the Iranians, as well as to the Biden administration and Russia, that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria or permit the south of Syria to become a new Iranian base, like the south of Lebanon.

Arab media reported that Israeli planes hit pro-Iranian militia forces near the city of Hama on January 22, destroying a number of targets. Several unconfirmed reports claimed that Israeli planes hit targets near Homs several days ago.

Lebanese media reported heavy Israeli drone activity over southern Lebanon and as far north as Beirut's southern suburbs during the past several days. At least one Israeli drone crashed earlier this week. Lebanon's Hezbollah claimed to have shot it down.
 

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