May 2013 Rif Dimashq airstrikes

May 2013 Rif Dimashq airstrikes
Part of Hezbollah involvement in the Syrian civil war

Rif Dimashq Governorate in Syria (red)
Planned by Israel (allegedly)
Objective Destroy a munitions depot,[1] stop transfer of weapons to Hezbollah
Date 3 May 2013 (2013-05-03) and 5 May 2013 (2013-05-05)
Executed by Israeli Air Force involvement alleged
Outcome unknown
Casualties 42+ soldiers dead (SOHR claim), and many civilian casualties (Syrian government claim)[2]

The May 2013 Rif Dimashq airstrikes were a series of aerial attacks made on targets in Syria on 3 and 5 May 2013.[3] The 3 May attack was on targets at Damascus International Airport.[1][4] The 5 May attacks were on targets at Jamraya, and the Al-Dimas and Maysalun areas in Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside).[5] Although officially Israel neither confirmed nor denied its involvement, former Mossad director Danny Yatom and former government member Tzachi Hanegbi assumed Israel's role behind the attack.[6] Syrian official sources denied any attack on its soil on 3 May, but did accuse Israel over 5 May events.


Early on 3 May 2013 several unidentified warplanes attacked a warehouse at Damascus International Airport that contained advanced surface-to-surface missiles that allegedly had been transported from Iran and which were possibly bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. The warehouse was believed to be controlled by Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force.[1] An unidentified American official said the missiles were Fateh-110s and two Israeli defense analysts said they included Scud Ds.[1][7][8] Satellite images showed that two facilities on opposite sides of the airport were destroyed.[4]

In the early hours of 5 May there were further air strikes on Syria. SANA, the Syrian state news agency, said there were strikes in three places: northeast of Jamraya; the Al-Dimas air base; and at Maysalun on the border with Lebanon.[5] Syria suggested it had been attacked with rockets.[9]

Targets of the attack

Photographs handed out by SANA and video shown on Al-Manar, a Lebanese television station affiliated with Hezbollah, showed buildings destroyed by the attack on the western side of Mount Qasioun at Al-Hamah, near Jamraya, in what appeared to be a chicken farm.[10] Analysis by Storyful identified the location, which was a mile from the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) facility at Jamraya where the airstrike of 31 January 2013 destroyed a convoy in the parking lot.[11] The same location was identified by Giuliano Ranieri.[12] The location is at 33°33′49.3″N 36°15′1″E / 33.563694°N 36.25028°E / 33.563694; 36.25028. Storyful identified this location as the site of the largest explosion in the Jamraya and Qasioun area that night.[11] Al-Manar said the SSRC facility was not hit on this occasion[13] and Storyful also said there was no evidence of a strike at the SSRC facility.[11]

Syrian officials said that a paragliding airport in the Al-Dimas area of Damascus was also hit. The Al-Manar television footage showed the burning ruins of a purported ammunition depot in the area.[10]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air raids had killed at least 42 soldiers and another 100 were missing. Other opposition sources put the death toll at 300.[2] A doctor at Tishreen military hospital in north Damascus said that 100 soldiers were killed in the attack.[14]



  1. 1 2 3 4 Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon and Jodi Rudoren (4 May 2013). "Israel targeted Iranian missiles in Syria attack". New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Williams, Dan; Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (6 May 2013). "Israel says 'no winds of war' despite Syria air strikes". Reuters. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Turkey condemns Israeli air strikes in Syria". Reuters. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  4. 1 2 Barnett, David (16 May 2013). "Satellite imagery of Israeli airstrike at Damascus airport released". Threat Matrix. Public Multimedia Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  5. 1 2 Evans, Dominic; Holmes, Oliver (5 May 2013). "Israel strikes Syria, says targeting Hezbollah arms". Reuters. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  6. "Israel: Air strikes were 'against Hezbollah and not the Syrian regime'". 6 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  7. Scott, David Clark (4 May 2013). "Why Israel bombed Syria, again". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  8. 1 2 "Israel enforces 'red line' with Syria airstrike". ABC News. 4 May 2013.
  9. "Damascus military facilities 'hit by Israel rockets'". BBC News. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  10. 1 2 "After the airstrikes: Scenes of devastation left by Israeli rockets as Syria pledges retaliation for the 'declaration of war'". Mail Online. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 McMahon, Felim (7 May 2013). "Syria – [Public] Analysis of where air strikes blamed on Israel hit – May 05". Storyful. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  12. Cenciotti, David (8 May 2013). "What kind of target did the Israeli Air Force really hit in Syria?". The Aviationist. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  13. "Israel carries out second air strike in Syria". The Guardian. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  14. "Syrian Observatory: 42 soldiers killed in Israel strike".
  15. 1 2 "Assad: Syria army capable of confronting Israel". Jerusalem Post. 7 May 2013.
  16. "Israeli warplanes 'launch air strike inside Syria'". BBC News. 4 May 2013.
  17. "UN accuses Syrian rebels of chemical weapons use".
  18. "Obama: Israel has right to defend itself from Hezbollah". Times of Israel. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  19. "Syria air strike: Israel has the right to defend itself, says William Hague". The Guardian. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  20. "Egypt condemns airstrikes against Syria, warns they complicate ongoing civil war". Fox News. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  21. "Russia 'concern' over Israel air strikes". 6 May 2013.
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