Syria shot down 22 Israeli missiles, Russian military says

MOSCOW (AP) — Syria’s air defense forces have shot down 22 missiles launched by Israeli warplanes during an airstrike against targets in Syria, the Russian military said Friday.

Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit, head of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said six Israeli fighter jets targeted facilities in the provinces of Damascus and Homs from Lebanon’s airspace late Thursday.

Kulit said Syrian air defense units downed 22 of the 24 missiles launched by the Israeli warplanes with Russia-supplied air defense systems Pantsyr-S and Buk-M2.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, which rarely comments on its military operations in Syria.

Kulit’s statement followed a report by the Syrian state news agency SANA that Syrian air defense units responded to an Israeli airstrike targeting the Damascus countryside and the central province of Homs. There were also no immediate reports of any casualties.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria in the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces. It rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Russia has waged a military campaign in Syria since 2015, helping President Bashar Assad’s government reclaim control over most of the country after a devastating civil war. Moscow also has helped modernize Syria’s military arsenals and train its personnel.

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