Syrian state media reported on Friday that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike around midnight against a convoy of four trucks transporting Scud missiles near Al-Katifa, north of Damascus. The army forces were those of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has strong relations with Hezbollah and frequently provides them with weapons and missiles. Syrian media claimed the jets had arrived in Syria via Lebanon and were unmanned. Hezbollah actively supports Assad in his fight against rebels trying to overthrow him. A fuel truck was also hit in the strike.
If true, this would indicate that Israel continues to operate in Syria despite Russian military presence and their advanced S-400 air defense system. In addition, there are unconfirmed reports that Israel has struck sites in Syria five times in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, at the Galilee Conference in Acre, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that Israel still operates in Syria.
“We operate in Syria from time to time to prevent it turning into another front against us. We act, of course, to prevent the transfer of deadly weaponry from Syria to Lebanon,” Netanyahu said.
Hezbollah is reported to have an estimated 150,000 missiles but on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon noted a heightened concern that Syria may be transferring advanced weaponry, including Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles and chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“Anyone who attempts to transfer advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations, with an emphasis on Hezbollah — we will not allow it.”
“We are keeping an eye out for the possibility that someone has gotten their hands on chemical weapons,” he added.