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Israel launches strikes in Syria, Lebanon, targets 'Hezbollah infrastructure'

The airstrikes near Damascus follow the Christmas Day death of a top Iranian commander in Syria in a strike widely attributed to Israel.
A metal cutout of an Israeli soldier at an army post in Mount Bental near the Syrian border in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on February 9, 2022. - Israel launched strikes against targets in Syria early today, hitting anti-aircraft batteries in response to a missile fired from Syria, the military said. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

The Israeli military struck Syrian military targets on Tuesday as the proxy war with Iran continues into the new year.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a post on X that it “struck military infrastructure belonging to the Syrian Army” in response to “launches towards Israeli territory” on Monday. The IDF added that its fighter jets "also struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon." 

The IDF typically does not comment on its military actions abroad, but does confirm strikes it says are in response to attacks on Israel.

Syria’s official news outlet SANA reported that Israeli airstrikes targeted unspecified areas outside of Damascus at around 4:35 a.m. local time, causing material damage.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the strikes hit near the town of Kanaker southwest of Damascus, targeting Syrian government forces and the Iran-backed Lebanese military organization Hezbollah. The observatory did not report the number of casualties nor the extent of the damage.

Why it matters: Israel is suspected of continuing its strikes against Syrian and Iranian military targets amid the Gaza war, achieving some success. On Dec. 25, a strike widely attributed to Israel killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Sayyed Razi Mousavi outside of Damascus.

Mousavi was a senior commander in the IRGC, responsible for coordinating military cooperation between Iran and the groups it backs in Syria.

Saudi news outlets reported that an Israeli airstrike on Damascus’ airport on Thursday killed 11 IRGC members. However, IRGC spokesperson Ramezan Sharif later denied the news, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah have greatly increased their military presence in Syria since the civil war began in 2011 in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah has also struck the IDF and northern Israel numerous times since the Gaza war began, leading to Israeli strikes on Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Know more: Iran executed four people on Friday for allegedly spying for Israel. The four were part of a group of 10 arrested in 2021 and 2022 on suspicions of communicating with Tel Aviv. The accused were tortured while in prison, according to the Iranian human rights organization Hengaw.