Syrian air defense downs Israeli missiles

Syrian air defense batteries respond to Israeli missiles targeting Damascus in this picture taken on January 21, 2019. (AFP file photo)
Updated 13 June 2019

Syrian air defense downs Israeli missiles

  • The attack was launched against the Tall Al-Hara sector located near the Golan Heights

DAMASCUS: Syrian air defense shot down Israeli missiles targeting the south of the country Wednesday, state media said, as a monitor reported positions of the regime’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah had been hit.

The attack was launched in the early hours of the morning against the Tall Al-Hara sector near the Golan Heights, according to official news agency SANA, which said there had been no casualties.

It did not specify what had been targeted.

SANA also accused Israel of conducting an “electronic war” and “jamming” Syrian radar.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strikes had targeted positions of the Hezbollah Shiite movement in two locations, but without causing any casualties.

“All the positions hit had the Lebanese Hezbollah there,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The missiles targeted Tall Al-Hara, a hill in the southern province of Daraa where Hezbollah has radars and the regime has air defense batteries, said the Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.

It also targeted barracks for the Lebanese fighters in the abandoned town of Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of a demilitarized zone between both countries in the Golan.

The town has been largely in ruins for over four decades since it was razed by Israeli forces before they withdrew under a 1974 United Nations agreement.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, targeting forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and the regime’s allies Iran and Hezbollah.

Earlier this month, Israel struck multiple positions held by regime forces over a period of 24 hours, killing 15 combatants according to the Observatory.

In January, it targeted Iranian positions in Syria in what it said was a response to an Iranian missile strike from inside the country.

That attack killed 21, mostly Iranians.

Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has left more than 370,000 people dead and displaced millions.

Israel and Hezbollah have fought several wars, the latest in 2006.


Iran says virus cases surpass 150,000

Updated 31 May 2020

Iran says virus cases surpass 150,000

  • The government has largely lifted the restrictions it imposed in order to halt a COVID-19 outbreak
  • 2,516 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours

TEHRAN: Iran said its caseload of novel coronavirus infections passed the grim milestone of 150,000 on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain a recent upward trend.
The government has largely lifted the restrictions it imposed in order to halt a COVID-19 outbreak that first emerged in mid-February.
But the health ministry has warned of a potential virus resurgence with new cluster outbreaks in a number of provinces.
Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,516 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 151,466.
Infections have been on a rising trajectory in the Islamic republic since hitting a near two-month low on May 2.
Jahanpour said the virus had claimed another 63 lives over the same period, raising the overall toll to 7,797.
So far the government has reimposed a lockdown only in Khuzestan province on Iran's southwestern border with Iraq.
It remains "red", the highest level on Iran's colour-coded risk scale.
Experts both at home and abroad have voiced scepticism about Iran's official figures, saying the real toll could be much higher.