Syrian reports claim Israeli jets strike army positions near Damascus

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It said Syrian air defenses confronted the Israeli attacks, but without giving further details.

The reported attacks targeted Syrian military sites located in the al-Qutaifa area near Damascus.

Although the long-term success of Syrian government forces looks inevitable, it will take them time to re-establish central control.

In its statement, the Syrian army repeated previous warnings of serious repercussions for the strikes and repeated its past accusation that Israel was using attacks to support militant groups in Syria.

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Syrian Republican Guard units are known to have major outposts in al-Qutaifa, according to the Associated Press.

An explosion on Sunday in the city of Idlib at a base for the group Ajnad al-Qawqaz, made up of fighters from the Caucasus that operates alongside HTS, left at least 34 dead, including 19 civilians, the Observatory said.

The Israeli air strikes are not necessarily a precursor to a wider military conflict, but they do show that Israel believes it can no longer stay on the margins of the Syrian war.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday the Syrian army was striking moderate opposition forces in Idlib province and this was undermining efforts to reach a political solution to the war in Syria.

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Some 200 Syrian government troops thought to have been trapped in a vehicle base in the eastern Ghouta area town of Harasta were reportedly freed.

More than 90 civilians were killed and over 200 others injured in attacks in de-escalation zones in Idlib in the past three weeks.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have stepped up the offensive in the southern province of Idlib in recent days, advancing towards the Abu al-Duhur airport, which rebels captured from the president's troops in September 2015.

Asked Tuesday whether the withdrawal could have been premature in view of the drone attack, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian forces in Syria have "all the necessary means" to counter any challenge.

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