TEL AVIV – At least 16 people were killed, including six civilians — one of whom was an infant — and 21 others wounded during an alleged Israeli airstrike on Iranian targets in Syria, Syrian sources reported on Monday.
It was not immediately clear if they were killed by the strikes themselves or by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. It added that several Hezbollah fighters and other Iranian-backed foreign forces were also killed in the strikes, which occurred near Homs and Damascus.
Among the targets were a headquarters for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces, a research center near Homs, an airbase, a Hezbollah arms depot near the border with Lebanon, and a scientific research center in Jamraya that doubled as a weapons warehouse.
It was the third time Israeli airstrikes reportedly hit the facility, with strikes reported in 2013 and most recently in February 2018.
“A military source said that the army air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli warplanes at midnight from Lebanese airspace towards some of our military sites in Homs and the surroundings of Damascus,” the state-run SANA news agency reported.
The report said Syria’s air defense had intercepted several missiles.
In keeping with its policy of silence surrounding strikes in Syria, Israel did not comment on the attacks, which were said to be the most widespread yet.
The al-Mezzeh airbase, which houses the air force intelligence service and its prison, was also targeted in the strikes, local media reported.
A Syrian anti-aircraft missile also crashed north of Nicosia in northern Cyprus, causing a large fire.
The strikes came hours after an Israeli satellite company released images it said showed that Syria’s S-300 air defense system was fully operational.
ISI #satellite image from #today shows: the fourth S-300 launcher in #Masyaf, #Syria, erected.#IMINT #VISINT #intelligence #satellite #s300 #Turkey #Russia #ISI #snaptasking pic.twitter.com/ciZeTBwWyr
— ImageSat Intl. (@ImageSatIntl) June 30, 2019
The strikes have raised doubts as to the effectiveness of the Russian-made S-300.
Israel has in the past warned that it would destroy the S-300 system if it is used against its warplanes.