A senior Moscow official claimed Sunday that Russian air defenses had intercepted at least three Israeli airstrikes in Syria over the past week.
General Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, told the Russian news agency TASS that two Israeli fighter jets were intercepted while attacking targets near Damascus early Sunday.
"From 05:40am to 05:54am, two F-16 tactical fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force, which stayed outside Syria's airspace, delivered a strike, from the southwestern direction, with two guided missiles at facilities in the settlement of Seidat Zeinab in the Damascus governorate," he told TASS, adding that both missiles were downed by the Russian-made Buk-M2E systems of the Syria air defense units.
Contrary to previous strikes attributed to Israel, Syrian authorities did not report the attack.
However, the UK-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did report that strong blasts were heard and smoke was seen south of Damascus. The watchdog did not attribute the explosions to Israel.
TASS claimed that Sunday's strike was the third in the past week.
According to the Russian news agency, on July 22, the Syrian army downed four guided missiles fired from Israeli fighter jets near Homs. On July 19, Israeli fighter jets fired eight guided missiles southeast of Aleppo, seven of which were destroyed by Russian-made defense systems.
On Sunday, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that Russia intends to curtail Israel's military operations in Syria by supplying the regime of President Bashar Assad with stronger air defenses.
The official cited by the Arabic daily said Moscow was "running out of patience" regarding alleged Israeli air raids in Syria.
Moreover, the "well-informed" source claimed Moscow believes this move would not encounter stiff opposition from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, as Russian officials have been given the impression that Washington does not approve of the alleged Israeli strikes either.