KEY POINTS

  • Four Israeli F-16 fighter jets reportedly carried out the latest aerial attack
  • A scientific research facility was damaged during the attack: Russian military
  • Watchdog group reportedly said there were five casualties, but Syria is yet to confirm deaths linked to the strikes
  • Russia has been expanding its military presence in Syria over the last six years

Seven out of eight missiles fired by Israeli warplanes were shot down by Syrian air defense, the Russian military said Tuesday.

The missiles, which were fired by four Israeli F-16 fighter jets Monday, were aimed at facilities southeast of the Syrian province, head of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in the country, Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit said, according to the Associated Press.

The Syrian air defense units that downed the missiles used Russian-supplied systems Buk-M2 and Pantsyr-S, Kulit added. He further noted that one of the missiles struck a scientific research facility in Safira.

The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog group said the latest missile attack targeted weaponry depots and bases under the Iranian Revolutionary Guard operating in the region.

While local authorities are still assessing the entirety of the damage, the main electricity cable leading to the city of Aleppo is being repaired after experiencing a direct hit, Reuters reported.

Iranian-backed militias have been growing their presence in Syria over the last year, and Russia, in particular, has built a solid military campaign in the country since 2015.

Russian military aid has helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s administration in reclaiming most of the territory that the opposition seized.

Israel has avoided discussing attacks against Iranian-backed forces over the years. As with the missile launch on Monday, Israel is yet to give a comment.

Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdulrahman reportedly told the al-Arabiya network that there were five casualties during the missile attack, local Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Abdulrahman reportedly said three of those killed were either Lebanese or Iranians, while two were Syrians. The International Business Times could not independently confirm the report.

Syria is yet to confirm whether there were casualties in the latest air strike.

The opposition war monitoring group also said that a helicopter gunship attack at Golan Heights in May was aimed at a man working for the Hezbollah organization, which is a Lebanese Iran-backed militant group.

At that time, Syrian state TV reported that the helicopter gunship wounded an unidentified civilian who was then transported to the hospital.

Earlier in May, Israeli missiles were fired toward northwestern Syria. Six people were wounded, while one person died in the attack.

The Syrian government has not commented on whether Israel’s aerial attacks targeted Iranian-backed assets or not as the government said information was restricted to advisers.

A civil defence member uses a firehose at the scene of a car bomb in the Turkish-controlled town of Al-Bab in the north of Syria's Aleppo province A civil defence member uses a firehose at the scene of a car bomb in the Turkish-controlled town of Al-Bab in the north of Syria's Aleppo province Photo: AFP / Bakr ALKASEM