Israel continues to violate Syria’s sovereignty, citing the large military presence of Iranian forces and their proxy militias as an excuse, and noticeably escalated its strikes in Syria since early 2018, while the Syrian regime seems satisfied with mere condemnations and press releases.
In this report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) presents detailed information on all the Israeli strikes on Syria since the beginning of 2022. SOHR has also documented the human losses and material damage caused by these attacks. The details of all Israeli attacks are summarised in the following main points:
Targeted areas, fatalities, and material damage
SOHR documented seven airstrikes and ground rocket attacks since the beginning of 2022, during which Israel targeted several positions in Syria, destroying nearly 13 targets, including buildings, warehouses, headquarters, centres and vehicles. These strikes killed 12 military personnel and injured 19 others. The deaths were as follows:
- Two Iranian officers operating under the banner of Al-Quds Corps.
- Four Syrian fighters of Iranian-backed militias.
- Three non-Syrian militiamen of Iran-backed militias.
- Three regime soldiers, including a lieutenant.
Meanwhile, the attacks are distributed regionally as follows:
- Damascus and Rif Dimashq: Five attacks
- Al-Quneitera: Two attacks
Full details of the Israeli attacks are categorised as follows:
- January 5:A fire broke out in bushes of Al-Huriyyah village near the “disengagement line” and Occupied Syrian Golan, after Israeli tanks had opened fire on a military post in that area. The attack coincided with military movements in the area.
- January 31: Positions of the Lebanese Hezbollah nearby Al-Qutayfa city in eastern Qalamoun area to the north-east of the capital, Damascus, came under an Israeli attack. According to SOHR sources, at least five explosions were heard in Al-Qutayfa city followed by the outbreak of fire in military posts and weapons and ammunitions warehouses of Lebanese Hezbollah in the vicinity of the city.
- February 9: Israeli forces carried out two rounds of attacks in Syrian territory in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The first round was carried out by fighter jets flying over Lebanon, where the Israeli airstrikes targeted positions on the old highway between Damascus and Beirut in Rif Dimashq and the outskirts of Jadidat Al-Shibani in Wadi Baradi where warehouses and military positions of Iranian-backed militias are located. Meanwhile, regime air-defences attempted to intercept the Israeli airstrikes, shooting down some missiles. The second round of Israeli attacks, which was carried out with rockets fired from the occupied Syrian Golan, targeted regime air-defence batteries in the same area, killing a regime first lieutenant. It is worth noting that shrapnel of a missile fired by regime air-defences caused material damage to civilian properties in a neighbourhood Qudsiyya area.
- February 17: Israeli missiles fired from the occupied Syrian Golan targeted at least one building belonging to the Division-7 Ground Forces in the area between Zakya and Khan Al-Shih in western Rif Dimashq. The sound of the explosion was heard in faraway suburbs. The attack targeted a meeting attended by unidentified security and military officials. However, the results of the attack remains unknown, while ambulances were seen rushing to the attacked site till dawn. SOHR sources added that the region had witnessed high traffic of cars, a few hours before the attack.
- February 23: Israeli surface-to-surface missiles fired from the occupied Syrian Golan targeted a finance directorate headquarters in Al-Ba’ath city and other positions nearby Al-Rowhinah village in Al-Quneitra province. The attack caused only material damages. It is worth noting that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias are deployed in several posts in Al-Rowhinah and Al-Ba’ath.
- February 24: Israeli rocket fire hit posts and weapons warehouses of Iranian-backed militias nearby Damascus international airport and the air-defence system in areas along Al-Keswah and Sayeda Zeinab, south of Damascus. The attack killed seven people, including four Syrians: two regime soldiers and two members close to the Lebanese Hezbollah. The three others were Iranian-backed militias, but their nationalities remained unknown.
- March 7: Two officers of “Al-Quds Corps”, which is affiliated with the Iranian “Revolutionary Guard Corps” and two Syrian fighters of Iranian-backed militias were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Iranian military posts near Damascus national airport. It is worth noting that while attempting to intercept the Israeli missiles by regime, one of regime air defence’s missiles hit a marble factory in “Dahiayt Al-Assad” area in Rif Dimashq, completely destroying the marble factory.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is used to hearing the Syrian regime’s empty mantra that it always reserves the right to respond to Israeli attacks. However, regime forces do not hesitate when it comes to shelling opposition positions or bombarding residential and civilian areas inside Syria. The Iranians also dare not launch a large-scale military operation against Israel, as they know full well that they will be facing the might of Israel’s military, so the Iranians seem satisfied with letting its proxies do its bidding by firing only a few rockets from time to time on the occupied Syrian Golan, using the Iranian and Hezbollah-backed movement “Syrian Resistance to Liberate Golan”.
At a time when the Syrian regime “intercepts and downs” Israeli missiles only with a Russian green light, Israel can hit Iranian targets -with the purpose of undermining the Iranian military presence in Syria- and only with Russia’s full consent.
On the other hand, Washington justifies Israel’s stance that “Tel Aviv practices its legal rights to defend its security and interests against the Iranian direct threat”, not to mention the US desire to get Syria free of Iranian forces and militias.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), call for keeping the Syrian civilians out of the regional conflicts as the targeted areas and facilities are owned by Syrian people alone, not by Iran or its proxy militias.
SOHR stresses the importance of expelling the Iranian forces and militias from Syria without risking the safety and lives of civilians or damaging Syria’s public properties and facilities.