Israel attacks Syria’s Homs, wounds five soldiers: Ministry

Raid is the third Israeli attack in Syria in recent days, including one that killed two advisers to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Damaged buildings in Homes, Syria
Vegetables are displayed for sale near damaged buildings in Homs, Syria, on October 3, 2021 [File: Yamam al Shaar/ Reuters]

Israel has launched air raids on outposts in Syria’s Homs province, wounding at least five soldiers, according to the Syrian Ministry of Defence.

The raids early on Sunday were the third in recent days, including an attack on Friday that killed two military advisers with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, said in a statement on Sunday that the two IRGC members died fighting “terrorism” supported by Israel and that Israel had violated Syrian sovereignty and international law.

“It is obvious that the blood of these eminent martyrs will not be wasted and in addition to politically and legally pursuing these violating and criminal actions, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to respond at an appropriate time and place to the terrorism of the fake Israeli regime,” he said.

Israel launched “an aerial aggression from the direction of northwest Beirut, targeting some outposts in Homs city and its countryside at 00:35 am” (21:35 GMT on Saturday) and Syrian air defences had intercepted some of the missiles, the ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

A Syrian military source told state media that the attacks caused some material damage and injured five military personnel.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the report, according to the Reuters news agency.

Without referring to any specific attacks or sites, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that Israel is “exacting a heavy price from terrorist-supporting regimes” outside its borders.

Two Western intelligence sources who requested anonymity told Reuters that the rocket strikes targeted the T4 air base west of the ancient city of Palmyra and al-Dabaa airport near the city of al-Qusayr close to the Lebanese border, an area where Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group is deployed.

Iranian military personnel and Hezbollah fighters are stationed at both airports and there is a strong presence of pro-Iranian militias in that area of Homs province, the sources said.

Reuters said it was unable to verify the authenticity of the claims.

Syria denies Western and Israeli allegations that Iran, whose top military officials frequently visit Syria, has an extensive military presence in the country.

Israel for years has carried out attacks against what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict that began in 2011 after a brutal crackdown by Syrian forces on peaceful anti-government demonstrators.

Israel has intensified its raids in the past year on Syrian airports and air bases to disrupt what it says is Iran’s use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to militias.

An Israeli air strike last month targeting the airport in Aleppo put it out of commission for two days. The airport has been a main conduit for aid shipments since deadly magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes hit northern Syria and southern Turkey on February 6.

Western intelligence sources have said Iran is increasingly using several civilian airports to deliver more arms, taking advantage of heavy air traffic as cargo planes offload aid after the quakes.

Iran declined to comment on the Western and Israeli accusations.

Source: News Agencies