Photo Credit: YouTube screen grab via NewsUpdate
Missile attack on southwest Damascus

Syrian state media reported after midnight Sunday night that Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Iranian and Hezbollah military targets in the town of Kiswah southwest of Damascus, in Sahnaya, a neighborhood of the capital, in Homs and in Tartous, both about 160 kilometers to the north.

Four people were killed and 21 others were injured, according to a report by Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA. It was not clear, however, how many of the dead and injured were soldiers or civilians. An infant was allegedly among the dead, according to unconfirmed Syrian media reports. Update: SOHR reports that the number killed included nine Iranian and Syrians military personnel and six civilians.

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According to the Syrian defense ministry, the attack was launched from Lebanese air space. Syrian air defenses opened fire to block the attack from at least 13 missiles, according to Syrian military sources who spoke with SANA.

At least six cruise missiles were fired from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea towards Homs and Damascus, according to political analyst Eva J. Koulouriotis, citing video documentation.

One of the targets was the Mezzeh Air Base in Damascus, Sahnaya and Daraya, according to a Damascus source quoted by Al-Masdar News. The UK-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights reported the 91st Military Division base of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Damascus was among the targets, as was the Jamraya Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), located over 10 kilometers (seven miles) northwest of Damascus, which has been repeatedly sanctioned by the U.S. and France for its role in producing chemical weapons. Jamraya is also home to several military positions.

At a number of sites there were massive explosions due to strikes on ammunition warehouses, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Ambulances were seen racing to those areas.

A number of homes were damaged as result of “the pressure of explosions,” according to Syrian state television station al-Ikhbariya, which showed photos of smashed windows and furniture broken on the floors.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, asked about the attack, said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.