Israel attacked an Iranian military base near Damascus after midnight Saturday with missiles, according to the Syrian state-run SANA news agency and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Reports say one or two of the Israeli surface-to-surface missiles were intercepted by Syrian (read Russian) air defense systems. But some missiles hit their target and “caused material” damage to the Iranian base, and 12 Iranians were killed.
The BBC reports that the Israeli military has not confirmed it carried out the strike. The BBC goes on to note that Israel has hit weapons sites in Syria before to prevent arms being transferred to Syria’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Hours after the reported strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a warning to Iran about troops in Syria:
In a video tweet published Saturday night, Netanyahu said, “I will reiterate the policy of Israel: We will not allow a regime that is determined to destroy the Jewish nation to acquire a nuclear weapon. We will not allow this regime to establish a military presence in Syria, as its declared purpose, for destroying our state.”
You can watch the video below:Last month the BBC reported that The Iranian military established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus. This was the base Israel attacked.
Iran has deployed more than 70,000 Iranian and non-Iranian forces in Syria, including 8,000 to 10,000 Iranian IRGC forces and 5,000 to 6,000 from the regular Iranian Army.