The Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted a major airstrike on targets around Damascus on Monday, the 15 February. According to the Syrian reports, their anti-aircraft defenses managed to shoot down most of the missiles fired at targets belonging to the 1st Corps of the Syrian Army in Al-Kiswah. In this surprising series of missile strikes, nine Iran-backed militants were killed and a number of munitions and equipment caches destroyed.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:
“[…] nine pro-Iranian militiamen were killed in Israeli airstrikes on positions and warehouses, west and south-west of the capital Damascus, they are: two were killed by shelling hit the area of Al-Kiswa, and seven were killed by shelling hit Iranian rocket depots within the headquarters of the 4th Division in the mountains around Damascus-Beirut road, known as “old Beirut road”.
The dead were all of non-Syrian and non-Arab nationalities, and it is not known whether they were Afghans, Pakistanis or Iranians, as these militias are substantially deployed in the area near the Lebanese border.”
The IAF continues a series of airstrikes aimed at Shia militants in Syria. In mid-January, Israel conducted some of the most deadly attacks since the beginning of such operations. In addition, on the 12 February, a dozen of militants were killed in a daylight airstrike on a vehicle column in Deir-el Zour province.
The airstrike on Shia militants around Damascus was followed by a surprise drill announced by the IAF. For 3 days the Israeli pilots will conduct a series of combat scenarios. The Israeli Defense Forces officials stated that the air superiority missions, as well as offensive and intelligence missions, will be a part of exercises.
The silent war between Iran and Israel continues on Syrian soil. The government in Tel-Aviv wants to prevent the Shia militants from deploying missiles that could be used in terrorist strikes on Israeli soil.
Cover photograph used under Creative Commons license/author Maj. Ofer IAF