Israeli strikes near Syria capital kill three civilians

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Israeli air strikes near the Syrian capital early yesterday killed three civilians, state media said.

“Three civilians were martyred and four others wounded, including a child, because shrapnel from Israeli missiles fell on houses” in the suburbs of Damascus, the official SANA news agency said.

Syrian air defences had downed “most” of the Israeli missiles launched from Lebanese air space shortly before dawn, SANA said in an earlier report.

Videos published on the agency’s website purported to show the Israeli warheads exploding in the sky. An Israeli spokesperson declined to comment.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the attack hit positions of Iranian forces and fighters from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah south of Damascus.

It said four such fighters were killed in the strikes.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the country, targetting government troops as well as allied Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters.

On April 20, SANA said Syrian air defences had downed Israeli missiles near the ancient city of Palmyra.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, said the targets were “military posts for Iranian militias in the Palmyra desert”.

That raid killed three Syrian fighters and six foreigners, according to the monitor, which was not able to determine their nationalities.