Israel Said to Hit Syria as Trump Plans U.S. Troop Pullout

(Bloomberg) -- An Israeli airstrike from Lebanese territory struck an ammunition depot in the Damascus countryside and injured three soldiers Tuesday evening, the Syrian military said.

Air defenses intercepted most Israeli missiles, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported, citing an unidentified military official. However the U.K.-based Syrian observatory for human rights that monitors the war said three targets were hit, including weapons depots belonging to Iran or its Lebanese Hezbollah proxy, and that projectiles had fallen in the Israeli-occupied section of the Golan Heights.

If confirmed, the Israeli strike would be its first attack on Syria since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. troops from the country last week. The surprise decision led Trump’s critics to suggest the move would allow Israel’s arch enemy Iran to step in and fill the power vacuum.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday his nation was sticking to its red line opposing Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria, and had acted even “in recent days” to thwart this.

Iran is set to reap the rewards of its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s long civil war, in which Iranian-backed militias including Hezbollah have played a crucial role in the regime’s fight against an opposition insurgency intent on overthrowing Assad.

Israel rarely acknowledges conducting strikes on Syria and its military wouldn’t comment on reports of offensive activity. However it said Tuesday on Twitter that it activated its aerial defense system in response to an anti-aircraft missile from Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry criticized the reported Israeli strike, saying it had endangered civilian flights.

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