Date: Mar 1, 2021
Source: The Daily Star
Syrian army says Israel attacks areas around southern Damascus
CAIRO/AMMAN: The Syrian army said on Sunday evening that Israel conducted a rocket attack on targets in the vicinity of Damascus in an attack heard above the capital.

A Syrian army statement said the attack came from the Golan Heights and that it downed most of the missiles.

An Israeli military spokesman declined comment when asked about the report.

In a briefing to supporters of his party on Friday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israel was taking action "almost weekly" to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Regional intelligence sources say Iran's Quds Force and militias it backs whose presence has spread in Syria in recent years have a strong presence in a string of underground bases in the southern outskirts of Damascus.

Israel has regularly attacked what it says are Iranian-linked targets in Syria in recent years, and stepped up such strikes this year in what Western intelligence sources describe as a shadow war to reduce Iran’s influence.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has never publicly acknowledged there are Iranian forces operating on his behalf in Syria’s civil war, only that Tehran has sent military advisers.

Western intelligence sources say Israeli strikes this year have undermined Iran’s extensive military power in Syria without triggering a major increase in hostilities.