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Israeli strikes hit residential area believed to host Iran proxies in Damascus countryside

BEIRUT: Israeli strikes targeted a “residential building” west of the Syrian capital early Saturday, a war monitor said.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on Syria since civil war broke out in the country in 2011, mainly targeting Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

But it has stepped up its campaign against its northern neighbor since the war with Hamas in Gaza began on October 7.

The “Israeli attack” on Saturday targeted “a residential building west of the Syrian capital Damascus,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based war monitor, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria, reported the sound of “violent explosions” including from the Dimas area in Damascus province.

Syrian state media confirmed the strikes and said the country's air defenses shot down some of the missiles launched at the Damascus countryside in the early hours of Saturday.

Citing a military source, Syria's official news agency, SANA, said the air strikes were launched from the occupied Golan Heights and caused "some material losses."

The strikes came after an area near a military airport west of Damascus came under missile attack on Friday, the Observatory said, while the defense ministry said drones had entered Syrian airspace from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory had said “the area of the Mazzeh military airport west of the capital Damascus was targeted,” without saying who was behind what it described as a “missile” attack.

“Positions belonging to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other pro-Iran groups are present” in the area, added the Observatory.

A statement from the defense ministry said that at around 2:10 p.m. (1110 GMT) on Friday, “two drones violated Syrian air space from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan.”

“Air defense systems confronted them and they were shot down west of Damascus,” the statement added.

Neither source specified who was behind the incident.

(Arab News, Reuters)

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