July 22, 2018 / 5:20 PM / 5 months ago

Syrian state television says Israel struck military post in Hama province

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian state television said on Sunday an Israeli air strike had hit a military post in the city of Misyaf in Syria’s Hama province but caused only material damage.

The newsflash did not elaborate on what exactly had been targeted. An intelligence source said a major military research centre for chemical arms production was located near the city and believed to house a team of Iranian military experts involved in weapons production.

When asked about the reports of the air strike, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on foreign reports.”

Last week, Syrian state media said Israeli rockets had struck a Syrian military position near Nairab airport on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo.

Opposition sources said several Iranians were killed at a logistics site used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards near the airport.

Some of Iran’s military bases in Syria are next to Syrian military compounds or within army barracks, according to the intelligence source adding this complicated the task of singling out Iranian military assets from Syrian army units.

Israel, concerned that Iran’s growing presence in Syria poses a threat to its security, has escalated in recent months its strikes on suspected Iranian and Iran-backed positions in Syria.

In May, Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries.

Israel has vowed it will retain a free hand to hit hard areas along its border and elsewhere in Syria where it suspects Iranian-backed forces are stationed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday: “We are continuing to act in Syria to prevent Iranian entrenchment there.”

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supports a number of militias, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, who have thousands of fighters joining battles in support of his rule.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Dale Hudson and Sandra Maler

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