Israel Air Force F-16 D fighter jet taking off at the Ramat David Air Force Base (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Report: Israel Strikes Military Facility Near Damascus

Israeli jets reportedly struck a Syrian weapons depot containing long-range missiles, the latest in a series of military operations aimed at preventing both the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah and the establishment of a permanent Iranian foothold in the war-torn country. According to Arab media, Israel targeted the facility—located in the city of al-Qutayfah, near Damascus—with three separate strikes, which included the use of surface-to-surface missiles, between the hours of 2:00-4:00. The installation is believed to have housed the Syrian army’s 155th Artillery Regiment, which previously was linked to the Assad regime’s Scud missile program. The alleged mission comes on the heels of “extremely significant” meetings between senior Israeli ministers and defense officials about the security situation in the north, specifically regarding Iranian entrenchment along the shared borders with Syria and Lebanon. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly pressed the United States and Russia, the major player in the Syrian theater since intervening in the conflict in 2015, to create a buffer zone of up to 50 kilometers in the Golan Heights in which Iranian-backed Shiite fighters would be barred from operating. Jerusalem last year broke with its longstanding policy of not commenting on military activities abroad, revealing that it has conducted more than 100 strikes in Syria and Lebanon to uphold its so-called “red lines.”

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