Syrian air defenses near the northern city of Aleppo engaged what state media called "an Israeli aggression" late Monday night into early Tuesday morning.
According to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the air defenses activated were located in Al-Safira, south of Aleppo. The news agency posted videos showing the glow of a missile's rocket engine and streams of anti-aircraft fire as several booms can be distinctly heard.
Some reports online suggested the Israeli missiles had struck targets, but officials have confirmed no reports. Israel has also not made any official comment.
Photos reported to be of explosions caused by the airstrikes were circulating on social media, but could not be confirmed as authentic.
In a brief statement posted on its Twitter account, the Syrian Ministry of Defense stated that "At approximately 23.37 pm on Monday 7/19, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression towards southeast Aleppo, targeting some points in the Al-Safira area."
مصدر عسكري: حوالي الساعة 23,37 من مساء الإثنين 7/19 قام العدو الإسرائيلي بعدوان جوي باتجاه جنوب شرق حلب مستهدفاً بعض النقاط في منطقة السفيرة، وقد تصدت وسائط دفاعنا الجوي لصواريخ العدوان وأسقطت معظمها، ويتم حالياً تدقيق نتائج العدوان.— وزارة الدفاع السورية (@mod_gov_sy) July 19, 2021
Israel has launched attacks against al-Safira before, targeting a research complex it says is used by Iran's Quds Force, an elite unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which Jerusalem claims is plotting attacks against Israel. Political analyst Eva Koulouriotis wrote on Twitter that Tuesday's airstrikes were aimed at the same facilities, but there has been no further reports confirming that as of yet.
#BREAKING #NOW— Eva J. Koulouriotis - إيفا كولوريوتي (@evacool_) July 19, 2021
Preliminary information confirms the targeting of Al-Safira area, south of #Aleppo, which is considered one of the most important areas of the Iranian Quds Force concentration, and where the military armament factories are located.#Syria #Israel #IDF #Iran #IRGC https://t.co/LFGbq1yktN pic.twitter.com/3OMemPCJb1
The 7,000-year-old city, once voted the Islamic Capital of Culture, suffered catastrophic damage during the Syrian Civil War, as the Syrian Arab Army fought al-Nusra and other terrorist groups for control of the city, which it finally liberated in late 2016. After reconstruction began, half a million refugees returned to Aleppo. However, just a few miles to the west, Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham, a group that absorbed al-Nusra, continues to occupy parts of Idlib Governorate in conjunction with Turkish troops and other Islamist militia groups.