The Syrian military said earlier they had thwarted hostile targets above Damascus, adding that the attack had been launched by Israeli forces from the Golan Heights.
The Russian Ministry of Defense says Israeli F-16 fighter jets carried out strikes with eight air-to-surface missiles on Damascus’ suburbs early Thursday, without entering Syrian airspace, Sputnik reported.
According to the Russian military, a civil Airbus-320 with 172 passengers on board was trying to land at Damascus airport during the Israeli airstrikes that night, but landed instead at the Russian airbase in Hmeymim.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, it has already become a common practice for the Israeli air force to use civil aircraft to shield their own fighter jets from the Syrian air defense systems.
Eight troops were injured and some material damage was caused as a result of Thursday morning’s airstrikes on Damascus and other Syrian cities, a Syrian military source said earlier.
The military source confirmed the attack was launched from the Golan Heights, part of which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, and from southern Lebanon’s airspace. Israel has remained silent about who was responsible for the strikes.
According to media reports, the strikes targeted Damascus’s Mezzah district, where the Al-Mezzah Military Airport is located, the dislocation point of the 75th Brigade of the Syrian Army in the vicinity of the village of al-Maquilbiya, and the Center for Scientific Research in Jamaria.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Syria.
The Syrian government has repeatedly appealed to the United Nations over the Israeli forces’ “aggression” and violations of its airspace.
In a similar incident in September 2018, a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane with 15 servicemen on board disappeared from radar screens near Hmeymim Airbase in Syria. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the disappearance coincided with an attack by four Israeli F-16 military jets on Syrian targets in the province of Lattakia.
The ministry stated at the time that the Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as a shield, thereby subjecting it to an attack by the Syrian air defense units, with a Syrian S-200 missile ultimately downing the Russian aircraft while attempting to repel Israeli strikes. A total of 15 Russian military servicemen were killed in the aircraft destruction. At the time, Israeli authorities claimed that while they understood Moscow, the Syrian military was responsible for the tragic incident.