Syrian regime says Israel fires rockets at Damascus military airport

Israel has in the past targeted positions of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah group inside Syria, where the Iranian-backed group is heavily involved in fighting alongside Syrian regime forces.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A general view shows flames and smoke at Mezzeh Military Airport on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus following an explosion early on January 13, 2017.

Updated Jan 13, 2017

Israel fired rockets at a military airport compound near the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday, the Syrian regime army said.

The regime warned Israel of repercussions for what it called a "flagrant" attack.

The explosions were heard in the capital, and residents in the southwest suburbs saw a large plume of smoke rising from the area, while video footage on social media showed flames leaping from parts of Mezzeh Military Airport's compound.

"Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack and stresses its continued fight against (this) terrorism and amputate the arms of the perpetrators," the regime command said.

It did not disclose if there were any casualties, but said the rockets caused a fire.

Israel neither confirms nor denies involvement in striking targets inside Syria. Asked about Friday's incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: "We don't comment on reports of this kind."

The airport southwest of the capital is a major strategic air base used mainly by Syrian elite Republican Guards and had been a base used to fire rockets at former opposition-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus. No further details were made available. 

Israel has in the past targeted positions of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah group inside Syria, where the Iranian-backed group is heavily involved in fighting alongside Syrian regime forces.

Israeli defence officials have voiced concern that Hezbollah's experience in the Syrian civil war, where it has played a significant role and recently helped the regime regain the eastern sector of the city of Aleppo, has strengthened it.

Opposition groups operating in the area have said Hezbollah's major arms supply route into Damascus from the Lebanese border has been targeted on several occasions in recent years by air strikes. This has included strikes on convoys of weapons and warehouses. Damascus airport was also hit by air strikes in 2013.

Suicide attack hits Damascus

A suicide bomb attack hit a heavily secured district of the Syrian capital on Thursday and killed at least eight people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The blast took place in the southwestern neighbourhood of Damascus, Kafr Sousa where some of Syrian regime's main security installations are located.

Television footage on regime-affiliated media showed the wreckage of several cars with dozens of heavily armed security personnel at the site of the explosion.

Regime soldiers gathered at the site of the suicide attack in Kafr Sousa, southwest of the Syrian capital Damascus on January 12, 2017.

The Observatory said the death toll was likely to rise as several victims were in critical condition.

Such attacks are rare in Damascus, a stronghold of the regime leader Bashar al Assad.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.

Turkish-Russian cooperation on Syria

Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement to define mechanisms regarding flight security and cooperation during operations against "terrorist targets" in Syria, Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) said on Thursday.

The TAF said delegations from the both counties’ chiefs of staff reached the agreement following a meeting in Moscow.

The war in Syria is almost entering its 6th year and more than 400,000 people have been killed since it broke out, according to United Nations figure.

Meanwhile, the TAF also said it killed at least 41 Daesh terrorists in northern Syria on Thursday as part of the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield.

A total of 177 Daesh targets including shelters, defence positions, command control centres, weapons and vehicles were hit with the help of target detection systems, said the army.

TRTWorld and agencies