Israel conducts airstrikes in Syria on Christmas day, Syrian air defense responds

According to reports, the Israeli offensive threatened the safety of two civilian airliners which were landing at airports in Damascus and Beirut at the time.

Syria strike
Air defense missile is seen in the sky over the capital Damascus on Dec. 25, 2018. The Syrian official TV said the Syrian air defenses are intercepting enemy missiles in the vicinity of the capital. (Photo: Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

On Tuesday, in a fresh instance of aggression, Israeli aircraft fired missiles into the capital city of Damascus, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported on December 25. According to the report, Syrian air defense successfully intercepted most of the missiles fired by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories.  

Some of the missiles hit an arms depot, in which three soldiers were injured in the missile strikes. Israel claimed that the offensive was in response to an alleged missile attack launched from Syrian territory. Israel, in the past, has launched a series of missile strikes in Syria, claiming that the targets were Iranian forces inside the country.

In September this year, a Russian surveillance IL-20 plane was shot down by Syrian air defense, after the Russian plane was used as cover by Israeli F-16s. The incident led to the death of all 15 crew members on board.

Meanwhile, Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil condemned the Israeli offensive and use of Lebanese territory for the airstrikes. and expressed support for “Syria’s legitimate right to defend its land and sovereignty.”

“The foreign ministry also calls on the international community and the UN Security Council to denounce these raids, as well as Israeli warplanes’ breach of Lebanese airspace to carry out attacks on a brotherly country, in flagrant violation of UN resolution 1701,” said the statement by the Lebanese foreign ministry. Bassil also decided to file a complaint with the UN security council against the Israeli violations of Lebanese territorial sovereignty.

Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson of the Russian Defense Ministry, said that six Israeli F-16 fighters had participated in the operation. He also revealed that the Israeli airstrikes had threatened two commercial civilian airliners which were landing at airports in Damascus and Beirut at the time. Lebanese minister of Public Works and Transport Youssef Fenianos also confirmed the threats posed to the two civilian aircraft.

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