A strike in Damascus overnight Saturday attributed to Israel targeted Iranian officials meeting to advance the development of the drone or missile capabilities of Tehran’s proxies in Syria, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Five people were killed and more than a dozen injured in the alleged Israeli strike, which targeted a building in the city’s Kafr Sousa neighborhood and damaged several structures near a heavily guarded security complex linked to Iran.
The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the report, in accordance with Jerusalem’s long standing policy regarding specific foreign operations.
However, a source close to the Syrian government with knowledge of the strike said it targeted a meeting of Syrian and Iranian technical experts in drone manufacturing, according to Reuters.
“The strike hit the center where they were meeting as well as an apartment in a residential building. One Syrian engineer and one Iranian official—not high-ranking—were killed,” according to the report.
A second source said the Iranians were attending a meeting of technical experts in an Iranian military installation in the basement of a residential building in a security compound. He said one of those killed was a Syrian army civil engineer who worked at Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which Western countries say has produced chemical weapons.
A third source cited by Reuters said an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps engineer involved in Iran’s missile development program was seriously injured and transferred to a hospital in Tehran, while two other mid-ranking IRGC members at the meeting were unharmed.
The intended target of the strike was reportedly part of a covert guided missile production program run by the IRGC.
Another source said that Hezbollah members were also targeted in the attack.
Last week, U.S. forces shot down what they said was an Iranian-made drone flying over a base hosting U.S. personnel in northeastern Syria.
Iran has provided immense support to leader Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s nearly 12-year conflict, and its efforts to entrench itself militarily in the country while arming terrorist outfits such as Hezbollah have prompted regular Israeli airstrikes.