In a brazen move, Israel has launched a daytime airstrike on targets near Masyaf, northwestern Syria. The airstrikes were launched from northern Lebanon, with Syrian air defences responding to the strikes.
According to Syrian state news site SANA, only material damage was caused by the attacks.
Video has emerged online showing large plumes of smoke rising from hillsides in the region.
The Step News Agency claims that the strikes were concentrated on sites belonging to pro-Iranian militias as well as scientific research sites in Masyaf.
In recent years the region of Masyaf has been a target of several attacks, with the majority attributed to the Israeli Air Force (IAF). According to the Washington Post, the last time Masyaf was the focus of an airstrike was early June 2021, where Israeli airstrikes focused on chemical weapons facilities. During those strikes, at least 8 Syrian soldiers were killed.
Infrastructure belonging to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) is situated in Masyaf and has been the focus of IAF airstrikes in the past. Reports from the BBC indicate that in 2017 two Syrian soldiers were killed during strikes on the SSRC site, which apparently had produced chemical weapons.
Prior to this attack, the last Israeli airstrike in Syria was on March 7, concentrating on targets near Damascus airport and the Al-Assad suburb. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported two officers had been killed during the strike. Days later the IRGC responded by stating that “the Zionist regime will undoubtedly pay the price for such a crime.”
Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Efimov has warned Israeli strikes in Syria are “provoking” Russia to react, considered to be one of the strongest Russian condemnations of Israeli operations in Syria. He also expressed that Israeli strikes aim to “escalate tensions and allow the West to carry out military activities in Syria.”