Hours after Israeli reports said Russian S-300 anti-air defense systems in Syria came online and were “operational,” the Israeli military allegedly launched a major aerial attack on Syria in the middle of the night Sunday.
According to a breaking AFP report:
Syria said Israeli jets attacked several military sites near the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs early Monday, killing several people.
State news agency SANA said that Syrian air defense had intercepted several of the incoming missiles that were fired from Lebanese airspace.
Syria reported its aerial defense systems were active during the assault, which further caused damage to multiple civilian homes in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya, according to SANA.
The major Syrian military airport at Mezzeh on the western edge of Damascus was also a reported target in the attack.
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) June 30, 2019
Though total casualties are still unknown, one well-known journalist from Damascus, Danny Makki, is reporting at least 4 civilians killed — including a baby — and over 20 injured.
Syrian state media published footage showing missile intercepts of inbound projectiles.
It is also as yet unknown if the S-300s were active during the air strikes, however, Israeli media reports suggested that newly installed S-300s at several sites as well as Iranian troop presence was a prime cause behind the Israeli action, despite the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) neither confirming nor denying the strikes:
The reported strikes came just hours after an Israeli satellite imagery analysis company said Syria’s entire S-300 air defense system appeared to be operational, indicating a greater threat to Israel’s ability to conduct airstrikes against Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the country.
Until now, only three of the country’s four surface-to-air missile launchers had been seen fully erected at the Masyaf base in northwestern Syria.
Israel has threatened to destroy the S-300 system if it is used against its fighter jets, regardless of the potential blowback from Russia.
Journalist Danny Makki called the overnight air strikes “certainly one of the biggest Israeli attacks on Syria this year” – given that two provinces were targeted, as well as multiple installations and a civilian neighborhood being hit.
— Danny Makki (@Dannymakkisyria) June 30, 2019