Air defences respond to Israeli strikes near Syrian capital

Damascus residents report at least five loud explosions that shook apartment buildings

Syrian air defences try to intercept missiles over Damascus on Thursday night. EPA
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Loud explosions shook the Syrian capital late on Thursday as state media reported Israeli air strikes around Damascus.

The state news agency Sana said Syrian air defences confronted the Israeli planes, while the pro-Syrian government Cham FM Radio reported air strikes in the Damascus countryside and in the central province of Homs.

Damascus residents reported hearing at least five loud explosions in 15 minutes, which shook apartment buildings.

The missiles seemed to have been fired from over Lebanon, jolting residents who heard them streak across the sky before striking their targets.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely makes statements on its military operations in Syria.

There were also no immediate reports of any casualties.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against Syria during the civil war, aimed at what it says are suspected arms shipments bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

This week, Sana reported that Israel carried out a missile attack in southern Syria late on Tuesday, aimed at an unspecified military site.

Updated: August 19, 2021, 9:52 PM