Israel fires missiles into southern Syria, state media says

The military reportedly targeted Syrian military positions near the occupied Golan Heights

An image grab taken from an AFP video shows what appears to be smoke billowing over buildings near the Syrian capital Damascus, following a reported Israeli air strike overnight on July 1, 2019.  Israeli air strikes near Damascus and in Homs province left more than a dozen people dead,  a Britain-based war monitor said Monday. / AFP / Youssef KARWASHAN
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Israel has struck a strategic area of southern Syria near the occupied Golan Heights with several missiles, Syrian state television reported on Wednesday.

"The Israeli enemy launched an aggression after midnight against the Tall Al Hara area," the SANA news agency said Wednesday, adding that there were reports of damage to property.

The attacks were earlier described as "probably Israeli" by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who said they targeted Tall Al Hara in Daraa province, south of Damascus, and two areas in the neighbouring province of Quneitra.

"The regime's anti-aircraft defence has been activated to counter the attack," director of the Observatory Rami Abdel Rahmane said.

"Some missiles have been shot down, others have hit their target."

The Observatory reported "loss of life" without giving further details.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel was blamed for strikes on Syrian military positions in Homs and on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, earlier this month.

Moscow condemned the attack, saying that they posed a threat to regional stability and effort to return to peace after eight years of conflict.

Russia emerged as an indispensable ally to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in late 2015, when Moscow entered the conflict with an air campaign ostensibly launched against ISIS and Syrian rebel groups.

The attacks came only days after the national security advisers of Israel, the United States and Russia met in Israel, with Washington and Jerusalem demanding that Moscow ensure the withdrawal of Iran's forces from the region, according to intelligence sources.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed after the trilateral meeting to continue to act against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Tel Haraa is a strategically located area in southern Deraa province overlooking the Israeli-held Golan Heights. It was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

The zone has been a target of Israeli raids against Tehran-backed militias which have become entrenched in southern Syria and the Golan Heights near the border with Israel.

Last month the Syrian army said it had shot down a number of Israeli missiles targeting the location.

The latest strikes came after Hezbollah's leader said earlier this month that the group's rockets could reach key Israeli sites along the Mediterranean coast, including Tel Aviv.

Hassan Nasrallah also said that Iran was "able to bombard Israel with ferocity and force" but "will not start a war".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered that his country would deliver a "crushing military blow" on the both Hezbollah and Lebanon if it were to attack.

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