By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Syria’s state media SANA reported on Thursday evening that Syrian air defense confronted targets that had infiltrated Syrian air space from the direction of Lebanon, heading for Masyaf (مصياف).
As is usual with Syrian reports about air defense confronting air strikes, SANA claimed that they had downed a hostile missile and “destroyed it” in the skies over Masyaf in the countryside of Hama north of Damascus.
Syria says that the attack began just after 11pm. Other media and commentators picked up the Syrian report, particularly RT in Arabic and some Syria watchers. However there was limited information. Iran’s Press TV reported it also. An explosion was reportedly heard and an image showed air defenses firing at an alleged missile. A Syrian social media account named Qalaat Al Mudiq blamed Israel.
The area of Masyaf was a target of airstrikes in April 2019, and July 2018 and September 2017. There are also S-300 sites near Masyaf, given to Syria by Russia in the fall of 2018. The area also allegedly has a chemical weapons facility and military bases as well as Iranian-backed groups. Satellite images in April showed on area that was targeted.
See the S-400 satellite images here.
Read about the April 2019 air strike and see satellite images here.
And bits of missile found.
Friday, August 16
Information coming in still does not make clear what happened on the night of August 15. Daily Sabah in Arabic implies the S-300 was used to take down the rocket. Others said it was the Pantshir. However photos of wreckage from a missile appeared to show a Buk system’s air defense remnants.
Syria’s SANA links the attack to the defeat of terrorist groups on the Idlib front. Some social media blame Israel but many reports indicate that just one missile was intercepted. Reports say “a rocket.”
However it appears rumors indicate that the rocket may have been launched from Lebanon. In addition many social media accounts seek to specify “from Lebanon” but no one in Lebanon has put out footage of it. More photos from Syria and more of remains.
Even Syrian military sources seem to have told media that the missile was “fired from northern Lebanon.”
سبة في ريف طرطوس
Reports indicate that an explosion near Seba was heard. This area is given as (سبة) but it is difficult to find on a map.
The best I can do is this approximation.
The SOHR report also says that it appears to have been a single missile, they note.
“Violent explosions were heard in Misyaf city west of Hama caused by the air defenses of the Syrian regime as they were intercepting a missile believed to be Israeli, where the missile fell in the vicinity of Misyaf city after being intercepted by the regime’s air defenses, without information about human losses so far.”