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Israeli airstrikes in Syria targeted CERS

The facility in Hama is involved in the production of chemical weapons, as well as Hezbollah’s precision missile project.

The aftermath of a reported Israeli strike on Iranian targets in Syria's Homs Province early Sunday, April 2, 2023. Source: Twitter
The aftermath of a reported Israeli strike on Iranian targets in Syria's Homs Province early Sunday, April 2, 2023. Source: Twitter

The Israel Air Force carried out strikes in Hama, Syria, on Wednesday night, according to Syrian state media. Just hours earlier, Syrian media had reported IAF attacks on targets in the nearby port city of Tartus.

The Hama strikes were reportedly in the vicinity of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, known by its French acronym, CERS, which is involved in the production of chemical weapons, as well as Hezbollah’s precision missile project.

Israel has reportedly targeted the facility on several occasions in the past.

The strikes against air defense batteries in Tartus may have been carried out to help Israeli fighter jets to subsequently strike CERS, said the reports.

The strikes in Hama came from the direction of northern Lebanon, whereas the rare daytime attack on Tartus originated from over the Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian coast, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

The Hama operation caused “material losses” but no casualties, while the attack on Tartus killed two Syrian soldiers and wounded six other persons, according to the reports.

However, the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based watchdog group, said that the Tartus casualties were Hezbollah terrorists.

Late last month, strikes attributed to Jerusalem put Aleppo International Airport out of service, with Ynet citing a Saudi report as saying they had destroyed an “Iranian military shipment containing sensitive equipment.”

Israel is believed to have struck hundreds of targets in Syria in recent years, as part of an effort to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in the country. However, Israel rarely acknowledges these incidents.

On Aug. 7, four Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed and four others wounded in an Israeli strike near Damascus.

A week later, unexplained “violent explosions” rocked the Syrian capital, with the Syria Observatory for Human Rights reporting that the blasts had destroyed an arms depot belonging to Iranian-backed groups.

Iran recently threatened to avenge the strikes, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian saying during a visit to the Syrian capital, “The criminal practices by the Zionist entity in the region will not remain without retaliation.”

The Islamic Republic provided immense support to President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s long civil war, and continues to arm terrorist outfits such as Hezbollah.

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