AMMAN – Syrian air defenses on Tuesday intercepted an Israeli missile strike over Damascus, the Syrian capital, state media reported, while military defectors said the missiles may have targeted Iranian-backed militias.
“Syrian air defences intercepted an Israeli aggression coming from Lebanese airspace,” state media said. Earlier, state media said large explosions were heard.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. If confirmed, this would be the first such missile raid in about a month. Pre-dawn raids struck the Mediterranean port city of Latakia close to a Russian air base on May 5.
Western intelligence sources said Israel’s stepped-up strikes on Syria since last year are part of a shadow war approved by the United States. The strikes are also part of an anti-Iran policy that in the last two years has undermined Iran’s extensive military power without triggering a major increase in hostilities.
The intelligence sources said that Israel has over the past year expanded its targets across Syria, where thousands of Iranian-backed militias have been involved in regaining much of the territory lost by Syrian President Bashar al Assad to insurgents in a nearly decade-old civil war.