At approximately 1054 EST, initial reports began to indicate that Israeli aircraft were striking military sites in al-Jamaseh and Karto towns of Tartus, Syria. By 1130, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that three Hezbollah members were killed in the strike.
By 1230 EST, Syrian state-owned media confirmed the strike. Their statement reads below:
”At 17:22 this afternoon, the Israeli enemy carried out an aggression with rockets from the direction of the Mediterranean, targeting some of our air defense sites in #Tartous. The aggression led to the martyrdom of two soldiers, six others injured and some material losses.“
This strike is within 25km of Tartus Naval Base where the Russian Federation’s Mediterranean Flotilla resides with advanced air defense systems. The ability for Israeli aircraft to penetrate the Russian IADS and strike so close to the base further enforces the perception that the Russian Federation has limits to its support of the Assad Regime. Russia has had advanced air defense, tactical aviation, naval, and infantry assets in Tartus since 2015 when the Assad Regime called on Moscow for support against ISIS and other revolutionary groups in the country.
Since 2015, the Russian Federation has refused to protect Syrian government sites from Israeli strikes, highlighting the delicate balance that President Putin must take between the two long-time foes. Israel repeatedly targets Syrian military sites their intelligence apparatus claims are harboring, training, and facilitating terrorist groups.