Israeli rockets early Sunday, May 5, reportedly struck the Jamraya military research center just north of Damascus, the same facility which Israeli planes attacked in January, causing powerful explosions and shooting columns of fire. debkafile: The Israeli operation in Syria appears to be ongoing after the first round failed to prevent the transfer of Iran-supplied Scud D and Fateh-110 missiles to Hizballah units fighting in Syria the next day, Saturday. Syrian state TV reported the attack on Jamraya. There was no comment from Israeli spokesmen.
Arab sources reported Israeli rockets also hit two 4th Division Republican Guard battalions. The 4th Division is the main Syrian military unit buttressing the regime. It is commanded by President Bashar Assad’s brother, Gen. Maher Assad. There were also claims that rockets were fired on or close to Mount Qassioun, one of Bashar Assad’s presidential palaces and the site of command posts and arsenals overlooking the capital.
The BBC’s Arab sources add that Hizballah forces stationed in Damascus were also targeted.
Our military sources have said in the past that the tactic of bombing in Syria advanced weapons shipments in transition from Iran to keep them from reaching Hizballah in Lebanon had been overtaken by the presence of half of Hizballah’s military strength in Syria and able to collect them directly.
And in fact, the Syrian army immediately transferred The Scud D and Fateh-110 consignments directly to the Hizballah elite Al Qods and Al Mahdi brigades which are spearheading the Syrian battle for the key town of Al Qusayr near the Lebanese border, which Syrian rebels have held for more than a year.
The Al Mahdi Brigade joined Al Qods in Syria last Tuesday, April 30.
Israel is determined not to get involved in the Syrian civil war. Therefore, Israel has not struck the advanced weapons passing in this way to Hizballah, which is learning to use them in battle with the rebels. Neither are the 7,000-strong brigades themselves been attacked – thus far.
Israel’s calculus could change when they head back to Lebanon with their new advanced missiles – or before that.
In another response to Israel’s earlier air strike, Syrian army units facing the Jordanian border blasted rebel convoys driving in from Jordan as they passed the Yarmuk River, causing dozens of casualties among the rebels and the Jordanian instructors who had trained them.
Some were hit while still on Jordanian soil; others while on the move from the border past the little Syrian town of Saham al-Jawlan opposite the Golan.
While the Syrian army has made cross-border attacks on Lebanon, this was its first inside Jordan.
The blasts were heard Saturday on the Israeli Golan and caused the cancellation of sporting and other events. Residents were warned that the next time they heard sirens, they were to take heed and seek cover.