Air strikes on Syrian regime: Israel raids inside Syria since 2013

Volunteers from the Syrian Civil Defence and civilians search for victims under the rubble following an air strike on Hamouria, in the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, on January 9, 2018.
Volunteers from the Syrian Civil Defence and civilians search for victims under the rubble following an air strike on Hamouria, in the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, on January 9, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT (AFP) - Israel is believed to have carried out numerous raids inside Syria since 2013, targeting the Damascus regime and its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, a key ally of the Syrian government.

In the latest case, Syria and its Russian ally accused Israel on Monday (April 9) of carrying out a deadly dawn bombing raid on a Syrian military airbase, killing 14 fighters, including Iranians.

The T-4 base had already been targeted by the Israeli army in February, in retaliation for a drone sent to its territory by Iran, another ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Here is a recap of Israeli raids into Syria.

2018

- On Jan 9 several air strikes and missiles hit Syrian army and Hezbollah weapons depots near Damascus, according to the Syrian army. Israel, which rarely comment on its raids, does not confirm.

- In a major increase in tensions, Israel then on Feb 10 struck a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets.

The raids came after an Israeli fighter jet crashed under fire from Syrian air defences, and Israel said it intercepted an Iranian drone entering its airspace from Syria.

The confrontation was the first time Israel publicly acknowledged attacking what it identified as Iranian targets in Syria since the civil war began in 2011.

2017

- In March Israel said it had targeted "sophisticated" weapons destined for Hezbollah, near the central town of Palmyra.

- In April a huge explosion that sent a fireball into the sky near the Damascus international airport was blamed by Syrian state media on an Israeli missile strike.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said an arms depot that apparently belonged to Hezbollah was hit and exploded.

- In September Israeli jets fired rockets on a Hezbollah weapons depot near Damascus airport.

- In October the Israeli army destroyed a missiles battery near Damascus after a Syrian missile was fired at Israeli planes carrying out a reconnaissance mission over Lebanon.

- In December Israeli planes targeted the Jamraya scientific research centre in Damascus and a weapons depot belonging to the regime and its allies, according to the Observatory.

2016

Missiles struck near Mazzeh, which is home to the Syrian air forces' intelligence services, near Damascus in December. The airport was again targeted in January 2017.

2015

Hezbollah figure Samir Kantar, who had spent almost 30 years in Israeli prisons, was killed in an Israeli raid near Damascus in December. Israel did not claim responsibility.

2014

In December Syria accused Israel of having carried out two raids near Damascus.

2013

- In January Israeli planes hit a surface-to-air missile site and military complex near Damascus suspected of holding chemical agents. Israel said later it would not allow the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah, implicitly confirming the strike.

- Raids in May struck a scientific research centre in the capital, a weapons depot and an aircraft unit, according to a diplomat in Beirut. The Observatory said 42 soldiers were killed.

- Clashes also regularly erupt between Israel, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah on the disputed Golan Heights.

Israel has occupied since 1967 some 1,200sq km of the territory, which it annexed in 1981, in a move not recognised by the international community. Around 510 sq km remain under Syrian control.

Israel and Syria remain technically still at war.