Afgelopen vrijdag en zondag viel Israel doelen in Syrië aan, waaronder raketten die bedoeld waren voor Hezbollah. Er zouden echter meer doelen zijn bestookt, en volgens sommige berichten zouden tientallen Syrische elite troepen zijn gedood.
It looks like the attack had many targets:
A rebel spokesman, who spoke from a “liberated area” held by the opposition in Damascus, told NBC News there were huge explosions just before 2 a.m. Sunday local time (7 p.m. Saturday ET) in the Qaysoun mountains on the edge of Damascus.
“Around 10 locations were hit," the spokesman said. "It was difficult to tell what was hit in the raid and what exploded afterwards. Some of the targets were weapons and weapons depots.
"Secondary explosions continued for about four hours. They shook all of Damascus. There was still smoke in the air as the sun came up.”
From its Damascus media office, the Free Syrian Army listed nine apparent targets, including the Syrian Revolutionary Guard, the 104th brigade headquarters, a weapons depot in Qasyoun and a military research center at Jamraya.
The NYT notes that there were reported casualties (reported by YNet):
The attack struck several critical military facilities in some of Syria's most tightly secured and strategic areas, killing dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace, a high-ranking Syrian military official told the newspaper.
Rebels, opposition activists and residents said the strikes hit bases of the elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles, in addition to a military research center that American officials have called the country’s main chemical weapons facility, the report said.
A doctor at the military’s Tishreen Hospital said Monday that there were at least 100 dead soldiers and many dozens more wounded, according to the New York Times.
It is still unclear if this was an air-raid - or if it was a series of missiles shot from Syrian airspace. JE Dyer notes:
A Russia Today news item stated that the IAF launched 12 missiles into Syria from Lebanese air space; if valid, that report indicates the IAF used Israeli Popeye air-to-surface missiles to conduct the attack. The Popeye has a range of about 50 statute miles (78km), allowing standoff attacks. An ordnance package of this size, and a pattern of multiple, sequential strikes, fit the profile of an attack intended to badly cripple one or more facilities of industrial character, including weapons storage sites.
The explosive weight capacity of the Popeye is also consistent with the character of the explosions seen in the videos. I do note that the explosions in the videos appear to indicate strikes on above-ground, non-hardened targets. These are only a few of the explosions; there were presumably more.
One paragraph in this NYT analysis shows a bit of unintended bias on the part of "experts" quoted:
The increased frequency and intensity of the attacks also demonstrates Israel’s desire to take advantage of the chaotic situation, security experts say, as well as its calculation that Syria, Hezbollah and Iran are too preoccupied and weakened by the raging conflict in Syria to retaliate strongly against even a brazen escalation.
But several warned there was a risk of Israeli overreach, particularly given the fiery rhetoric with which Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah responded, a stark contrast to the silence that greeted some earlier attacks.
Isn't it possible that Hezbollah and Iran, fearful of Syria's fall which would destroy Hezbollah's main artery for weapons supplies, are using the civil war in Syria as a smokescreen to accelerate arms transfers - and Israel is ensuring that its long-held "red lines" are not being compromised?
Here is Al Arabiya's coverage:
Finally, Zvi has a roundup of reactions to the raids: