Israeli airstrikes kill 5 in Damascus, Syrian state media say

Damascus – Israeli airstrikes focused a residential neighborhood within the Syrian capital Damascus early Sunday, killing a minimum of 5 folks and wounding 15, Syrian state information reported.

At round 12:30 a.m. native time, loud explosions had been heard over a central space of ​​the capital, and SANA reported that Syrian air defenses “are going through enemy targets within the sky round Damascus.”

Syria’s state media company SANA, citing a army supply, reported that 5 folks had been killed, together with a soldier, and 15 civilians had been injured, and “various residential buildings had been destroyed”. The information company additionally reported that the strikes had broken buildings related to a medieval citadel in central Damascus and an utilized arts institute housed there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based struggle monitor, reported that 15 folks, together with a lady, had been killed in assaults on places linked to Iranian militias and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. They happened within the Damascus countryside and at an Iranian faculty within the neighborhood of Kafr Sousa within the capital, sources mentioned.

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Samer Abdo, an engineer who lives in an residence constructing in Kafr Sousa on an upscale residential road that was affected, searched by damaged glass and wooden in his residence on Sunday morning. Abdo advised The Related Press that his household awakened in concern when the constructing shook.

“We thought at first it was an earthquake like two weeks in the past,” he mentioned.

Mohamad Dulo, one other resident of the neighborhood, mentioned: “All of the home windows fell onto the road and folks bumped into the road too.”

Dulo mentioned he didn’t perceive why the realm was underneath assault. “It’s a residential space,” he says. “There’s nothing right here (army).”

Director-Normal for Antiquities and Museums Mohamad Awad advised the AP that the broken buildings across the Damascus citadel are arts and tradition institutes, in addition to the places of work for the administration of the citadel.

Individuals examine the harm to the Damascus citadel following Israeli airstrikes in Syria on February 19, 2023, state media mentioned. FIRAS MAKDESI / REUTERS

“There isn’t any doubt that it’ll price an excellent deal to rebuild or restore a few of the buildings destroyed within the assault,” Awad mentioned, including that the strike destroyed “uncommon and costly” tools and equipment, that are tough to acquire on sanctions and the nation’s financial disaster.

There was no instant assertion from Israel in regards to the assault. A spokesman for the Israeli army declined to remark.

Whereas he didn’t immediately point out the assaults, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned at a gathering of his cupboard on Sunday that Israel will proceed to defend itself towards what it sees as Iranian aggression.

“Iran’s assaults won’t discourage us. We won’t permit Iran to amass nuclear weapons, and we won’t permit it to entrench itself alongside our northern borders. We’re doing every thing and we are going to do every thing to guard our residents and we’re responding vigorously to the assaults on us,” he mentioned.

An official from an Iran-backed group denied media stories that the assault on Kafr Sousa was geared toward Iranian or Palestinian officers.

The strike hit a parking storage underneath a constructing, killing 10 civilians and troopers, all Syrians, he mentioned. He denied that Iranians or Hezbollah members had been killed.

The officer spoke on situation of anonymity as he was not licensed to talk to the media.

Israeli airstrikes typically goal places close to Damascus, however not often residential areas within the metropolis. The Saturday evening strikes had been the primary since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6.

The Syrian International Ministry condemned the assault, which got here “at a time when Syria was therapeutic its wounds, burying its martyrs and receiving condolences, compassion and worldwide humanitarian help within the face of the devastating earthquake”. He known as on the United Nations Safety Council to sentence him.

The semi-official Iranian information company Tasnim mentioned on Sunday that no Iranian nationals had been injured within the Israeli assault on Damascus. One of many rockets landed the place former Hezbollah commander Imad Moghnieh was killed in 2008.

The final reported assault on Damascus was on January 2, when the Syrian military reported that the Israeli army fired rockets on the Syrian capital’s worldwide airport early Monday, rendering it inoperative and killing two troopers and wounding two others.

Israel has carried out a whole lot of strikes on targets in government-controlled components of Syria in recent times, however the operations are not often acknowledged or mentioned.

However Israel has acknowledged that it’s concentrating on bases of Iran-aligned militant teams equivalent to Lebanese Hezbollah, which has dispatched 1000’s of fighters to help Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The Israeli assaults come amid a broader shadow struggle between Israel and Iran. The assaults on airports in Damascus and Aleppo stemmed from fears that they had been getting used to smuggle Iranian weapons into the nation.

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