Syrian state media said that Israel carried out airstrikes in the central province of Hama early Friday morning.
SANA, Syria’s official news agency ,said the attack occurred near the town of Masyaf and that the missiles were fired from Lebanese territory.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-Syrian opposition organization, claimed the strikes hit positions of Iran-backed militias and killed at least six foreign paramilitaries. The claim could not be verified.
It said the strikes targeted the Iran-backed groups’ arms depots and facilities for manufacturing short-range missiles.
The Associated Press said Israeli jets flew very low over parts of Lebanon before the strikes, including over Beirut, frightening some of the city’s residents.
The Syrian Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying Israel “launched an aggression by directing a barrage of rockets” from the north of the Lebanese city of Tripoli toward the Masyaf area.
It said Syrian air defenses “confronted the enemy missiles and intercepted most of them.” Syrian war analysts generally dismiss the military’s regular claims of interceptions as false, empty boasts.
Syrian state media aired footage purporting to show air defenses responding to the Israeli attack.
There was no comment from the IDF, which generally maintains a policy of ambiguity regarding its activities against Iran and its proxies in Syria, refusing to publicly acknowledge its actions.
Masyaf is a significant military area for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime that includes a military academy and a scientific research center. The general area around Masyaf, which is also believed to have a major Iranian presence, has reportedly been targeted by Israel many times in the past.