Syrian army says Israel fired at Syria with jets, missiles

A Syrian government plane flies over the rebel-held besieged town of Arbin, in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on Jan 8, 2018.
A Syrian government plane flies over the rebel-held besieged town of Arbin, in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on Jan 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT (REUTERS) - Israel attacked Syrian territory three times early on Tuesday (Jan 9) with jets and ground-to-ground missiles, Syria's army said in a statement carried by state television.

The army said Israeli jets fired missiles at the al-Qutaifa area near Damascus from inside Lebanese airspace at 2:40 a.m. (8.40 am Singapore time), and that Syrian air defences hit one of the planes.

Israel then fired ground-to-ground rockets from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian defences brought the missiles down, the Syrian army said.

It said Israeli jets fired a final barrage of four rockets from inside Israel, and that the Syrian air defences brought down one, but that the others caused material damage.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to respond to the Syrian statement. Although the Israeli air force chief last August disclosed that his corps had struck in Syria around 100 times, Israel's policy is generally not to confirm or deny such operations.

Israel has pledged to prevent Syrian territory being used for Iran to set up bases or transfer high-quality weaponry to Lebanon's Hezbollah group, which has been helping Damascus beat back a six-year-old rebellion.

In its statement, the Syrian army repeated previous warnings of serious repercussions for the strikes and repeated its past accusation that Israel was using attacks to support militant groups in Syria.