The Israeli Air Force conducted another airstrike inside Syria, at the al-Shayrat airbase located in Homs. The Syrian state-run television channel, SANA, reported that their air defense systems fired on what they identified as Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanese airspace.
SANA media, quoting an Army official said that “the air defenses shot down a number of missiles before they reached their targets.” The Syrians did not identify the location where their air defenses reportedly shot down the incoming missiles, which they said had targeted a Syrian Army base. The Syrian Army regularly claims to be shooting down incoming missiles, however, most of those reports have been proven false.
The location for the airstrike was reported by the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been monitoring the ongoing civil war. It reported that Israeli warplanes fired eight missiles at the al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province. They said explosions were heard and were believed to have been caused by anti-aircraft defenses while intercepting these missile strikes but didn’t give any more details. There haven’t been any reports of casualties.
The Israelis had reportedly already targeted the al-Shayrat base earlier this month. They had intelligence that Iran was using it as a forward operating base for bringing weapons and missiles into the country. The Israelis also targeted the Syrian and Iranian bases at Quneitra earlier in March.
The Israelis have targeted Iranian Quds Force operating in Syria as well as their proxies Hezbollah and other Iranian-led Shi’ite militias. They have also attacked Syrian air defense units that have fired on Israeli aircraft. Israel has acknowledged that it has conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the civil war began in 2011.
The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that it will not accept any Iranian bases on Israel’s borders. Hezbollah’s attempts to set up bases, especially in the Syrian Golan Heights, to be used for an attack against Israel is a scenario that will not stand by Israel.
The Syrian government entered into an agreement with Russia that was supposed to keep Iranian Quds Force and Iranian-proxy militias, including Hezbollah, many miles away from the Syrian border. But the Iranians and their proxies have kept pushing closer and closer… and the Israelis are responding.
The Israelis are also monitoring Hezbollah’s “Golan Project,” which is based in Damascus and Beirut. Hezbollah has numerous operatives in Hadar, Quinetra, and Erneh who collect intelligence on Israel and its military movements in the Golan Heights.
Hezbollah has amassed a large stockpile of weapons from the Syrian civil war. It can also be resupplied by Quds Force or other Lebanese or Iranian forces.
As is its standard operating procedure, the Israelis have neither confirmed or denied the Homs strike.