Syria reports Israeli airstrike near northern city of Aleppo

DAMASCUS, Syria — Israeli warplanes fired missiles on suburbs of this northern town of Aleppo ancient Friday, Syrian state media said, amid improved airstrikes on Syria in recent weeks.

Israel seldom comments on these reports but is thought to have carried out dozens of raids targeting Iran’s army presence in Syria. In the previous 3 months, Syria has accused Israel of carrying out nine air raids on its land.

State news agency SANA gave few specifics about Friday’s attack but said the nation’s air defenses shot down the majority of the missiles before they reach their targets.

Iran was a vital ally of the Syrian authorities in the virtually decade-long civil warfare sending tens of thousands of Iran-endorsed fighters to resist on President Bashar Assad’s side.

Israel views Iran as a regional menace and has pledged to protect against any permanent Iranian army buildup in Syria, especially close to the frontier.

Recently, Israeli officials also have expressed concern that Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group that works in Syria, will be hoping to establish centers to generate precision-guided missiles. Tensions also have climbed across the Israel-Lebanon border.