Deadly Israeli airstrike shakes Damascus, kills 15 people

Damascus (Caasimada Online) – In a pre-dawn air strike on Sunday, Israel killed 15 people, including two Syrian civilians, and caused extensive damage to a building in the Kafr Sousa district in Damascus that housed state security agencies. 

The attack targeted a meeting attended by Syrian regime officers and was described as the deadliest Israeli attack on the Syrian capital since the civil war began.  

The strike also created a crater in the road. It wrecked the 10-story building home to senior state officials and Syrian intelligence headquarters. 

The strike and its aftermath 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the strike also killed a woman in the Mazraa district, possibly hit by Syrian anti-aircraft munitions.  

The Observatory also said that a warehouse used by pro-regime Iranian and Hezbollah fighters near Damascus was hit by other missiles overnight. 

The Iranian news agency, Tasnim, stated that “no Iranian was harmed” and that the strike hit “exactly the spot” where Hezbollah’s top commander Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a 2008 car bombing that the Lebanese Shiite group blamed on Israel.

Although it is unclear who the intended target of the strike was, the Syrian defense ministry initially reported a death toll of five, including one soldier, and 15 wounded civilians, some of whom were in critical condition.

The strike left a gaping hole in the street and caused a road to the crater. 

Israel’s actions in Syria 

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against Syria during more than a decade of war in the country. Its primary targets have been the army, Iranian forces, and Hezbollah, allies of the Damascus regime. 

However, the historic buildings near the medieval Damascus citadel were also severely damaged during the recent strike, according to the head of the Syrian antiquities department, Nazir Awad, who blamed “an Israeli missile” for the destruction. 

The Syrian conflict

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful protests and has escalated to pull in multiple foreign powers and global jihadists. 

Almost half a million people have been killed. The conflict has forced around half of Syria’s pre-war population from their homes. 

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime receives military support from Russia and Iran, and Tehran-allied armed Shiite groups, including Hezbollah, declared enemies of Israel.

Response to the strike 

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad called the strike “a crime against humanity,” especially as Syria is currently seeking to recover from the devastating earthquake that struck the country on February 6, killing more than 44,000 people across the country’s north and west and southern Turkey.  

The Gaza-based Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad also denounced the strikes.