Israel struck a number of targets in Syria’s central and coastal regions on Monday, wounding two Syrian soldiers and causing material damage, Syrian state media reported.

The missiles entered Syrian airspace at around 7 p.m. from the direction of northern Beirut, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). The projectiles triggered Syria’s air defenses, which downed “most” of them, said SANA, citing a Syrian military source.

The U.K.-based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which has sources on the ground in Syria, reported that the strikes hit sites in the Tartus and Homs regions.

According to SOHR, the strikes targeted Syrian military facilities, including the Al-Shayrat military airfield, known to house Lebanese Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias. Al-Shayrat has been used by both Syrian and Russian forces during Syria’s civil war. The United States struck the airfield with more than 50 tomahawk missiles in 2017, in retaliation for a chemical attack launched from the site by the Syrian regime.

SOHR reported that ambulances had been heard rushing from Homs towards the targeted areas, and that “several” regime soldiers had been wounded by an explosion in an air-defense base in the Tartus countryside. It was unclear whether the explosion had been caused by Israeli or Syrian missiles, according to SOHR.

The strike is the fourth attributed to Israel in recent weeks. On Nov. 3, Syrian state media reported Israeli strikes on targets near the town of Zakiyah in Rif Dimashq Governorate, southwest of Damascus, and on Oct. 31 SOHR reported that five militia members had been killed in strikes near Damascus.

On Oct. 25, Israel reportedly struck missile batteries on the outskirts of the city of al-Ba’ath and the village of al-Krum, in Quneitra Governorate in southwestern Syria.

As usual, Israel did not comment on any of the reported attacks; however, it has acknowledged in the past that it is acting in Syria to counter Iranian activity there.

The Oct. 25 attack was the first attributed to Israel since Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Sochi, Russia, on Oct. 22. Syria and Iran were among the subjects the two leaders discussed during their five-hour meeting, which Bennett characterized as “very good and in-depth.”

“[I]n a certain way, the Russians are our neighbors to the north, and it is important that we manage the delicate and complex situation there smoothly, without mishaps,”  said Bennett, according to an official statement.

However, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Yefimov seemed to sound a very different note on Nov. 4, harshly criticizing Israel’s actions in Syria, which he said undermined efforts to stabilize the country.

JNS

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