A mere hours after Netanyahu's cabinet approved a major hostage and ceasefire deal with Hamas, Israel conducted airstrikes against Damascus, specifically targeting a town known for its revered Shia shrine which is frequented by Iranian pilgrims.
Syria's state SANA cited a military source as saying, "At approximately 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, the Zionist enemy carried out an air attack with two missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the vicinity of the city of Damascus."
"Our air defense forces responded to the aggression, shot down one of the missiles, and the losses were limited to material losses," the official statement continued.
The specific location is being widely reported as Sayeda Zainab, which lies south of Damascus. Black plumes of smoke were seen rising over the Damascus suburb in the early morning hours.
An unidentified building was demolished in the airstrikes, local media reports. Israel frequently says it targets 'Iranian weapons depots' or else Hezbollah related sites.
It remains to be seen whether Hezbollah will adhere to the Israel-Hamas truce, which is set to begin 10am Thursday (local) and is scheduled to last for four days in its initial phase.
Lebanese media reports say Hezbollah has agreed to respect and adhere to the truce, after daily rocket fire into northern Israel, per regional reports:
A ceasefire deal recently approved by the Israeli government that would see the release of hostages from Hamas will also apply as a truce on the northern border with Lebanon, according to a Lebanese report in Nidaa al-Watan.
"Hezbollah will adhere to the ceasefire on the condition that Israel does too," the first report announced on Wednesday morning, following a meeting between the leaders of the Lebanese and Palestinian terrorist organizations.
After striking a truce with Gaza, Israel promptly bombed the outskirts of Sayyidah Zaynab shrine in Damascus.— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) November 22, 2023
This shrine of the Prophet Mohammad's granddaughter is so important to Muslims that it drew Hezbollah, Iranians and Iraqis into the Syrian war. pic.twitter.com/DCkcyJSjaG
However, other sources contradict these claims and say that Hezbollah will not observe the truce.
Additional questions remain as to whether during the truce period Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq will halt their attacks on US bases. This week militants in Iraq published and circulated the following footage:
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq released scenes of its operation targeting a US convoy at the Mosul Dam/Al-Muhaywir village. pic.twitter.com/y7WI9Jju51— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) November 22, 2023
Regardless of whether the Israel-Hamas truce holds, regional militants are likely to keep up the pressure on the Pentagon presence in Iraq and Syria. Along with Damascus and Tehran, Russia and Turkey also want to see US troops depart. In Turkey's case, it has long accused the US of backing Kurdish 'terrorists' as it sees no distinction between the outlawed PKK and the Syrian Kurdish groups US advisers are assisting.