MOSCOW (AP) — Syria's air defense forces shot down seven out of eight missiles launched by Israeli warplanes during a raid that targeted the Syrian province of Aleppo, the Russian military said Tuesday.
Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit, the head of the Russian military's Reconciliation Center in Syria, said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets targeted facilities southeast of Aleppo in Monday's strike.
Kulit said seven of eight missiles launched by the Israeli fighter jets were downed by Syrian air defense units that used Russia-supplied air defense systems Pantsyr-S and Buk-M2. One missile damaged the building of a scientific research center in Safira, he said.
A Syrian military official previously said in remarks carried by the state news agency SANA that Israel carried out an aerial attack in the Aleppo province late Monday. He said that Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles in the attack that occurred just before midnight.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has activists on the ground in Syria, said the Israeli strikes targeted weapons depots that belong to Iranian-backed militia operating in Aleppo’s Safira region. The group said the strikes were followed by loud explosions. The weapons depots were located inside Syrian military posts, the group said.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Israel fears Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.
Russia has waged a military campaign in Syria since 2015, helping President Bashar Assad's government reclaim control over most of the country after a devastating civil war. Moscow also has helped modernize Syria's military arsenals and train its personnel.