On 21 January, the Israeli military says it has hit Iranian and Syrian targets around Damascus, including advanced Pantsir-S1 air defense system.
The Israel Defense Forces said the overnight operation targeted the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as well as Syrian air defenses. Four people are reported to have died.
The Syrian military says it shot down most of the Israeli missiles. But a monitoring group reported that at least 11 pro-government fighters were killed.
The Pantsir-S1 is a Russian-built advanced, self-propelled combined gun/missile system that is made mobile on 8×8 trucks. The transportable gun/SAM system includes up to 12 surface-to-air missiles arranged into two 6-tube groups on the turret, and a pair of 30mm cannon.
The IDF says it acted after the Quds Force fired a rocket from Syria towards the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday.
Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has sent thousands of military personnel to support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.
“During our strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, we also targeted several of the Syrian Armed Forces’ aerial defense batteries,” the military statement said.
Also, Israeli military released footage showing the several Russian-made Pantsir-S1 (SA-22 according to the NATO designation) missile defense systems took a direct hit during an Israeli airstrike in Syria.S
See details: Syrian air defence repels Israeli F-16 attack on Damascus airport – IDF downs a missile over Golan Heights too
Syria’s state-run Sana news agency quoted a military source as saying it “confronted an Israeli attack” and “prevented it from achieving its objectives”.
“Our air defences dealt with the situation and intercepted the hostile missiles, downing most of them before reaching their targets as they continue their heroic response to the aggression,” the source added, without mentioning any casualties.
The Russian military, which like Iran also backs the Syrian government, said more than 30 missiles and guided bombs were shot down.
However, it added that the “infrastructure” of Damascus International Airport was partially damaged and that four Syrian soldiers were killed and six were wounded.
There was no immediate comment from Iran. But the head of its air force, Brig Gen Aziz Nasirzadeh, said the country was “fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth”, according to the Young Journalists’ Club website.