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Syrian air defenses activated against attack on Damascus, report

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Syrian air defenses intercepted "hostile targets" in the vicinity of the capital Damascus.

The old city near the Umayyad Mosque in Bab Touma, Al Qaymariyya and Bab Sharqi © Mena Today 

Syrian air defences intercepted Israeli strikes in the vicinity of the capital Damascus, state media said on Wednesday.

Syrian state media gave no further details about the attacks or the intended targets. Pro-Iranian Lebanese television al Maydeen said a big explosion was heard in the heavily fortified Sayeda Zainab neighbourhood of the Syrian capital where a major Shi'ite shrine is located. It gave no further details.

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Regional intelligence sources say Iran's Quds Force and militias it backs, whose presence has spread in Syria in recent years, have a strong presence in the Sayeda Zainab neighbourhood of southern Damascus where Iranian backed militias have a string of underground bases.

Iran has been a major backer of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria's nearly 12-year-old conflict.

Its support for Damascus and the Lebanese group Hezbollah has drawn regular Israeli air strikes meant to curb Tehran's extraterritorial military power.

Those strikes have ramped up during the Gaza war, with more than half a dozen Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers killed in suspected Israeli strikes on Syria since December.

Reporting by Yomna Ehab, Kinda Makieh, Muhammed El Gebaly; and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem


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