Syrian Army Accuses Israel of Attacking Strategic Military Airport Near Damascus

Syrian army command says Israel fired rockets at air base, warns or repercussions over 'flagrant' attack.

Damascus sky after explosion.
FILE PHOTO: Damascus sky after explosion. Reuters

Syrian army command said on Friday that Israel struck a major military airport west of Damascus, the capital, and warned of repercussions of what it called a "flagrant" attack.

Syrian state television quoted the army as saying several rockets were fired from an area near Lake Kinneret in northern Israel just after midnight which landed in the compound of the airport, a major facility for elite Republican Guards.

"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 army command said in a statement.

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

Video footage downloaded on social media showed large volleys of fire engulfing several areas in the military airport's compound with a huge plume of smoke from the airport area seen from a distance in several neighbourhoods of the capital.

The Iranian news network Alalam reported, citing Syrian military sources, that Israeli aircraft fired several missiles at multiple targets at the airport, which caused a fire. The report said several were killed and wounded.

Earlier, state television said several major explosions hit Mezzah military airport compound near Damascus and ambulances were rushed to the area, without giving details.

The airport southwest of the capital, located some five kilometers away from President Bashar Assad's palace, had been a base used to fire rockets at former rebel-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus.

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

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

Rebels 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. Israel neither confirms nor denies involvement in striking targets inside Syria. Damascus has also been tightlipped about previous strikes.