Israeli jets hit arms depots near Damascus

Isreali Warplane[Photo Credit: Press TV]

Israeli warplanes on Wednesday hit arms depots near the Syrian capital Damascus, a monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SOHR, said.

The planes fired at least six rockets on the depots which were in the area of Qutaifa, north-east of Damascus.

“It was not immediately clear if the targeted sites belong to the Syrian army or its allied Lebanese Hezbollah movement,” Rami Rahman, SOHR Head said.

The reported airstrike resulted in successive explosions in Qutaifa, around 45 kilometres north east of Damascus, local sources said without reporting casualties.

A Lebanese security official, who requested anonymity said that the raid targeted an arms shipment for Hezbollah.

Pro-Iran Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad since an anti-government uprising started in Syria in 2011.

In January, the Syrian government accused Israel of mounting an air attack on the Mezzeh airbase west of Damascus.

Israel rarely comments on such reports.

On January 13, Syria’s army accused Israel of firing rockets at a military air base in the capital, warning of “repercussions” for the strike, which hit just a few miles from the presidential palace.

The attack on the Mezzeh military airport, a key base in Damascus, was one of the more powerful suspected Israeli strikes in recent months.

Residents said they heard several explosions and saw smoke rise overhead.

But it is unlikely that Syrian forces, which have repeatedly claimed their right to retaliation after such attacks, will act on the threat — especially as the country is mired in a civil war now in its sixth year between President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to oust him.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the attack, following the country’s policy of neither confirming or denying such strikes.

Israel has repeatedly struck inside Syrian territory in recent years to try to prevent weapon transfers to the Lebanese Shia militant group Hizbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Hezbollah, like Assad, is backed by Iran, which has been a major force fighting on Mr Assad’s side of the conflict.

Syria’s military command said the strikes took place after midnight and caused a fire in the Mezzeh base.

The reported strike was the second of its kind in the past two months.

Also in December, Syria blamed the Israeli military for another strike on the Mezzeh military airport in Damascus, causing explosions and fires.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said on Friday that the overnight strikes caused eight explosions and several casualties, but gave no further details.


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