Report: Syrian Soldier Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Country’s South

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke rises from a fire in a container storage area, after Syrian state media reported an Israeli airstrike on the Syrian port of Latakia, in this handout picture released by SANA on Dec. 7. (SANA/Handout via REUTERS)

An Israeli airstrike killed a soldier in southern Syria on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, in an attack in a frontier area where Israel has expressed concern about deployments of Iran-backed forces.

An IDF spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war.

Citing a military source, Syrian state news agency SANA said “the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression,” firing missiles from the Golan Heights.

Syrian air defenses shot down most of the rockets, SANA said. The attack led to “the martyrdom of a soldier and some material losses,” it added.

In 2019, then-U.S. President Donald Trump broke with other world powers by recognizing Israel as sovereign on the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Last week, Syria’s military claimed Israeli warplanes fired missiles on the port of the coastal city of Latakia. It was a rare attack on the port, a vital facility where much of Syria’s imports are brought into the war-torn country. According to Israel’s Kan News, weapons earmarked for Hezbollah were being stored in the containers.

Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern said on Tuesday that Syria cannot be allowed to obtain chemical weapons, after a report emerged that Israel targeted the country’s chemical weapons facilities.

In an interview with Army Radio, Stern would not directly comment on the report in the Washington Post that said Israel struck Syria on two occasions – once this year and once last year – in a bid to block attempts to rebuild its chemical weapons stockpile. But Stern, a retired military general, hinted that Israel could not accept such weapons in the hands of its enemy to the north.

“We have a neighbor who has already proved that it doesn’t hesitate to use chemical weapons even against its own people,” he said. Syrian President Bashar “Assad must not have chemical weapons.”