Syria says air defence responds to Israeli raids

Damascus (AFP) –


Syrian air defences on Sunday responded to Israeli air raids in the south of the country, state news agency SANA reported quoting a military source.

The air defence systems "prevented Israeli air strikes from achieving their objectives in the south" of the country, the report said without giving further details.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman, said the region targeted was south of Damascus near the Kisweh area.

"Warehouses containing weapons for Syrian regime ally Hezbollah and Iranian fighters are located in that area," said Abdel Rahman, adding however it was not clear if they were hit in the Israeli strikes.

It comes a week after Israel carried out an air strike that it said targeted Iranian weapons in Syria.

The January 12 raids were confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said "warehouses containing Iranian weapons in the Damascus International airport" were hit.

It was a rare public confirmation by Israel of such attacks.

Netanyahu said Israel had attacked Iranian targets -- and those of its Lebanese ally Hezbollah -- in Syria hundreds of times.

Israel has pledged to prevent Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where its arch foe Iran is backing President Bashar al-Assad's regime alongside Russia and Hezbollah.

SANA said earlier that last week's Israeli strikes were foiled and that the country's air defences had shot down Israeli missiles which were aimed at the international airport near Damascus.

"Only a ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus international airport was hit," SANA said at the time citing a military source.

The Observatory said those strikes were near the airport and the Kisweh region.