Israeli missile targets military base near Damascus

The site of a reported Iranian military compound in Al-Kiswa Syria January 2017

The site of a reported Iranian military compound in Al-Kiswa Syria January 2017

According to reports on Lebanon's Al-Mustaqbal TV and the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network, accounts on the Telegram messaging app tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps have been reporting 12 fatalities, while also reporting the names of those killed.

Syrian state media has said army units have intercepted Israeli missiles outside the capital Damascus, although some damage has been caused by "military strikes".

The Arabic-language al-Masdar news agency, citing an unnamed source, said the Syrian military's anti-aircraft missiles were fired from the Mezzeh Airbase in rural Damascus in the early hours of Saturday.

The Syrian army has fired at least four surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft as the regime launched an attack against the western countryside of Syria's capital Damascus, reports say. Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, including Hezbollah, have helped Damascus regain control of swathes of the country.

Israel has declined to comment.

The reported Iranian compound in Al-Kiswa with new structures completed October 2017
The reported Iranian compound in Al-Kiswa with new structures completed October

Israel claims the strikes have been in self-defense. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has been warning since last summer that it will prevent Iran and its allies from having military bases near its territory.

"Let me reiterate Israel's policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons".

"We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the expressed goal of eradicating our state", Netanyahu said.

The Israeli air force has said it struck arms convoys of the Syrian military and Lebanon's Hezbollah almost 100 times during more than six years of the Syrian war. Satellite images commissioned by the BBC show construction activity at the site from January to October, 2017. The Islamic Republic aspires to count, like Russian Federation, with its own air and naval bases in Syria and to be able to exploit its uranium mines.

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