Late on August 15, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) intercepted a missile of an unspecified type over the town of Masyaf in the western Hama countryside.
Citing an unnamed military source, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the mysterious missile came from northern Lebanon.
“At 23:06 of Thursday night, 15-8-2019, our air defense media uncovered a hostile target coming from northern Lebanon towards the town of Masyaf, and immediately dealt with it destroying it before it could reach its target,” the military source said.
A Russian base is located in the area, over which the missile was intercepted. An S-400 air-defense system is known to be deployed in the base. Moreover, a Syrian S-300 air-defense system is deployed in a nearby base.
Pro-government sources said the missile was launched by an Israeli warplane. This remains the most logical scenario. However, it is yet to be confirmed.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is known for its extensive use of aerial decoys. Israel’s IMI Systems developed several decoy missiles over the years, such as the ADM-141A\B TALD and the ADM-141C ITALD, which are equipped with passive and active radar enhancers. TALD has a range of 126km, while the ITALD’s range is over 300km.
Israel may have launched a decoy missile to provoke the SyAADF in order to collect information and prepare for future airstrikes on targets in the region.