Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Syrian military claims that early Wednesday Israeli warplanes bombed a military research centre northwest of Damascus — not a convoy of trucks headed to Lebanon as previously reported.Earlier reports of the airstrike indicated that the jets targeted a convoy of trucks carrying Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles near the Syria-Lebanon border.
Syrian state news agency SANA reports the strike destroyed a military research centre “responsible for raising the levels of resistance and self-defence” in Damascus, killing two people and wounding five others.
Damascus is located about 10 miles from the Lebanese border.
“The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said … Israeli warplanes snuck from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain, flying at a low altitude and below radars, heading to Jamraya in Damascus Countryside … and bombarded the location before sneaking away.”
Earlier reports indicated that the strike occurred in Lebanon but now the consensus is that the attack occurred “deep inside Syrian territory” — making it the first time since 2007 that the Israeli Air Force has attacked a target in Syria.
Now the big question is whether it was a convoy of trucks or a military research building that was bombed.
The Syrian military “stressed that the allegations of some media outlets that the Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon are baseless, with the General Command affirming that the Israeli warplane targeted a scientific research facility in blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty and airspace.”
American officials told The New York Times the Israelis had notified the U.S. about the attack, and that the U.S. believes the target was a convoy taking weapons to Lebanon.
Either way, the strike is a significant escalation of the geopolitical conflict in the region as a top aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that any “attack on Syria is considered (an) attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”
The Times notes that Avi Dichter, the minister for the home front, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that options to prevent Syria from using or transferring chemical or conventional weapons included deterrence and “attempts to hit the stockpiles.”
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