Israel’s December 25 airstrikes targeted Iranian storage facilities and an anti-aircraft battery of the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) around the Syrian capital of Damascus, an Israeli military official told the Haaretz newspaper on December 27.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also claimed that Israel alerted Russia about the airstrikes ahead of time, without providing any further information.
Syrian pro-government activists confirmed that an air-defense system of the SyAADF was hit during the airstrikes. However, they said that the storage facilities were of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) 4th Division. New satellite images released by Israel’s ImageSat confirmed that the facilities were located inside the base of the same division.
A day earlier, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia said that the Israeli airstrikes on Damascus endangered two civilian airplanes, which forced the SyAADF to delayed the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy.”
The scale of the Israeli airstrikes reflects the tough attitude of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to take action against Iranian forces in Syria on numerous occasions during the last few months.