Syrian air defense downs Israeli missiles

Syrian air defense batteries respond to Israeli missiles targeting Damascus in this picture taken on January 21, 2019. (AFP file photo)
Updated 13 June 2019

Syrian air defense downs Israeli missiles

  • The attack was launched against the Tall Al-Hara sector located near the Golan Heights

DAMASCUS: Syrian air defense shot down Israeli missiles targeting the south of the country Wednesday, state media said, as a monitor reported positions of the regime’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah had been hit.

The attack was launched in the early hours of the morning against the Tall Al-Hara sector near the Golan Heights, according to official news agency SANA, which said there had been no casualties.

It did not specify what had been targeted.

SANA also accused Israel of conducting an “electronic war” and “jamming” Syrian radar.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strikes had targeted positions of the Hezbollah Shiite movement in two locations, but without causing any casualties.

“All the positions hit had the Lebanese Hezbollah there,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The missiles targeted Tall Al-Hara, a hill in the southern province of Daraa where Hezbollah has radars and the regime has air defense batteries, said the Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.

It also targeted barracks for the Lebanese fighters in the abandoned town of Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of a demilitarized zone between both countries in the Golan.

The town has been largely in ruins for over four decades since it was razed by Israeli forces before they withdrew under a 1974 United Nations agreement.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, targeting forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and the regime’s allies Iran and Hezbollah.

Earlier this month, Israel struck multiple positions held by regime forces over a period of 24 hours, killing 15 combatants according to the Observatory.

In January, it targeted Iranian positions in Syria in what it said was a response to an Iranian missile strike from inside the country.

That attack killed 21, mostly Iranians.

Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has left more than 370,000 people dead and displaced millions.

Israel and Hezbollah have fought several wars, the latest in 2006.


Stena Impero owner met Iran’s Zarif to urge release of UK-flagged ship

Updated 11 min 5 sec ago

Stena Impero owner met Iran’s Zarif to urge release of UK-flagged ship

  • Tanker was detained by Tehran on July 19
  • Erik Hanell, chief executive of Stena Bulk, met Zarif in Stockholm

LONDON: The owner of a British-flagged tanker detained in Iran has met the country’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to make the case for the ship and its crew to be released.

Erik Hanell, chief executive of Stena Bulk, met Zarif in Stockholm on Aug. 20 to ask for the Stena Impero to be released.

------

READ MORE: Iran threatens ‘less secure’ shipping lanes if US halts oil exports

------

It was detained by Tehran on July 19, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That ship was released this week.

“A constructive dialogue was had and we shared information around the case,” Hanell said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It was important for us to emphasize the importance of the release of the 23 crew ... Also for the release of the Swedish owned vessel Stena Impero.