The Israeli Air Force bombed several missile launcher positions in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia last night, according to unconfirmed reports from Syrian opposition groups.
Latakia is a heavily Alawite area, firmly in control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The weapons systems targeted by Israeli jets are thought to be Russian-made S-300s, advanced surface-to-air missiles capable of shooting down aircraft at long range.
Opposition forces reported an explosion in the Sheikh Dahar section of the city, near Latakia’s port, but the Syrian government has not corroborated the information.
An organisation known as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects and organises reports on behalf of the rebels and opposition activists, said there was an additional bombardment near an air defence base at Jabaleh, also in the Latakia coastal province area.
Last October, an unnamed US official told CNN that Israeli jets had targeted Syrian regime sites, again in Latakia, to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry to the Lebanese terror group, Hizbollah.
The Israeli government has consistently rebuffed any suggestion that it has taken military action inside Syria since the civil war began.
"For a long time we have continued to say that we are not involving ourselves in the bloody civil war in Syria," said Israli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya'alon last autumn. "We have established our red lines and we are sticking to them."