An Israeli Patriot Missile shot down a Syrian drone on Thursday, only a few hours after Israel was reported to have struck an arms depot near Damascus Airport containing Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah. Russia condemned Israel’s involvement in the multi-national fray taking place on her northern border.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, missiles hit a weapons depot reported to hold missiles destined to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
“The Syrian army and its allies will work to thwart the new Israeli plot on the occupied Golan border and will continue to destroy the enemy’s collaborators,” a Syrian military source said to Lebanese news site el-Nashra, claiming the missiles had destroyed fuel tanks. No casualties were reported.
The airport has also been cited as a pipeline for Iranian military support of Assad. In 2011, the US Treasury reported that Iran Air, a civilian carrier, transported missile parts and military supplies to Syria. JPost reported that according to a flight radar tracking site, flightradar24.com, four Iranian cargo planes had landed at Damascus Airport just hours before the alleged strike.
Israel has a policy of not commenting on attacks such as this, but in an interview to Army Radio, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said, “I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don’t want to elaborate on this.”
“The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act,” Katz added.
After the attack Thursday morning, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We continue to consider that all countries need to refrain from any kind of actions that lead to an increase in tension in this already restive region and call for respect of the sovereignty of Syria.”
His statement was echoed by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said, “Gross violations of Syrian sovereignty, no matter how they are justified, are unacceptable,” she said, adding that “Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria.”
Later on Thursday, the IDF acknowledged they downed a Syrian drone over Northern Israel.
“The IDF will not allow any breach of Israel’s airspace and will act against any attempt of infiltration,” the army said in a statement.
This comes two days day after a senior IDF official confirmed that Israel An Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike last month destroyed approximately 100 Syrian missiles, many of which were believed to be headed to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.