State media in Syria have reported missile strikes against targets south of Damascus, at least one involving a weapons depot used by an Iran-backed militia, with several people described as “Iranian personnel” being killed. The attacks, which took place late Monday night, are being attributed to Israel. Some reports say Syrian air defenses intercepted several incoming missiles, although others dispute this, while yet others speak only of injuries and no deaths. Israel has said nothing on the matter. The Jewish state has acknowledged carrying out numerous airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria in the past, seeking to deliver a message that it will not tolerate a military presence there by the Islamic Republic. Most reported airstrikes, however, go unacknowledged. Israeli defense officials were recently quoted as saying that the country planned to step up these efforts. Several days ago, Tehran announced it had signed an agreement with Damascus to improve its air defense system, a move seen by analysts as Iranian dissatisfaction with Syria’s ability to provide an umbrella for its personnel and facilities.
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