Syria Claims to shot down an Israeli warplane and four missiles in Israel’s first air strikes since Syrian air defence upgrade
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 29, 2018
Syrian news agency SANA reported that the regime’s air force continues to repel Israeli “aggression” over southern Syria and that its air defenses have downed several “hostile targets” that were flying over the town of al-Kiswah, home to military bases in the south of Damascus.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit denied this report. The IDF also stressed that all reports that an Israeli aircraft was launched were false.
Russia’s RIA news agency cited a Syrian security source as saying that the “Syrian air defense forces shot down an Israeli warplane and four missiles.” In addition, Syrian state television reported that “the Israeli attack did not achieve its goals because the hostile targets were shot down.”
The Israeli military denied any of its assets were hit but stopped short of denying it had conducted strikes at all.
“Reports regarding an IDF (Israeli military) aircraft or an airborne IDF target having been hit are false,” it said in an English-language statement.
It said a Syrian surface-to-air missile was fired in the direction of an open area of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights but it was unclear if it had hit Israeli-held territory.
During a Syrian surface-to-air missile launching, one launch was identified towards an open area in the Golan Heights. At this point, it remains unclear if the launch indeed landed in Israeli territory. IDF troops are searching the area.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 29, 2018
The attack took place at al-Kiswah, a town south of Damascus, which is only 50 kilometers away from the Israeli border. Another Syrian news agency claimed that the sites belonged to Iranian militias, but this report is yet to be confirmed.
The attack came only a few hours after a Boeing 747 belonging to Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm— reportedly used by the country’s Revolutionary Guards to smuggle weapons to Tehran’s allies— conducted a direct flight from the Iranian capital to Beirut for the first time. The 27-year-old Jumbo jet took off on Thursday morning at 8:02 am from Tehran to Beirut and landed in Lebanon at 10:19 am.
“Israeli forces bombarded for an hour,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Two missiles hit “weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah [militant group] as well as Iranian forces” in Kisweh.
Another missile hit the area of Harfa, where there is a Syrian military base, the Britain-based monitor said.
In Kisweh, “the depots that were targeted are used to temporarily store rockets until they are taken somewhere else,” Abdel Rahman said.
“It appears the Israelis had intelligence that weapons had arrived there recently,” he said.
The state news agency said the attack was foiled and did not admit to any losses.
“Our air defenses fired on hostile targets over the Kisweh area and downed them,” SANA said, citing a military source.
Initial reports by the Observatory suggested there were no casualties
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus had said last month would make Israel “think carefully” before carrying out further air raids.
There was no evidence however that the S-300 batteries were used to intercept Israeli missiles overnight.