Israeli air strikes in Syria kill three soldiers: State media

Latest Israeli strikes target sites around the capital Damascus and south of the coastal Tartus province.

Israeli air strikes on Syria killed three soldiers and wounded three others in Israel’s latest attack on the war-torn country.conf

State media said air defence forces were confronting what it said were Israeli bombing raids aimed at targets in the vicinity of the Syrian coastal province of Tartus.

“The aggression led to the death of three soldiers, the wounding of three others,” Syria’s official news agency SANA said, quoting an unnamed military source.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes inside the country, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

Its forces were also confronting “hostile targets” over the Qalamoun mountains near the border with Lebanon, SANA reported.

A Syrian military statement said there were two simultaneous Israeli attacks – one a missile attack targeting the countryside near the capital, Damascus, carried out from the direction of southeast of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor also gave the same toll of killed and wounded from the second strikes near an air defence base in Tartus province, where Iranian-backed groups are active.

The targeted site in Tartus is located 8km (5 miles) from a Russian base, said the monitor, which has a wide network of sources in Syria.

It said ambulances had rushed to the scene of the strikes in Tartus.

In early July, Syria’s defence ministry said an Israeli raid conducted from the Mediterranean Sea near the town of Al-Hamadiyah, south of Tartus town, had wounded two civilians.

On Friday, Israeli shelling wounded two civilians in southern Syria near the occupied Golan Heights, according to state media.

Last month, an Israeli strike near Damascus killed three Syrian soldiers, state media said at the time. The Syrian Observatory said that strike targeted a military facility and an “Iranian weapons depot”.

After the latest incident, Israeli authorities told AFP news agency they “do not comment on reports in the foreign media”.

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, the military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

The conflict in Syria started with the brutal repression of peaceful protests and escalated to pull in foreign powers and fighters.

The war has killed nearly half a million people and forced half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes.

Russia’s military intervention in 2015 helped turn the war in favour of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces once only controlled one-fifth of the country.

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