Syrian Media Report Israeli Strike on Weapons Depot Near Damascus Airport

Television station associated with Syrian government reports that Israel attacked. There are reports of explosions on social media

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows flames and smoke at the Mezzah military airport on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus following an explosion early on January 13, 2017.
STRINGER/AFP

Media outlets in Syria and Lebanon reported an additional Israeli airstrike on a weapons depot in Damascus early Thursday morning, No injuries were reported.

Israeli officials refused to comment on the reports, but rejected Syrian reports that the country’s aerial defense downed an Israeli drone that took part in the attack.

Without directly naming any nation, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told the United Nations on Saturday that “Syria reserves the right to respond to any violation by the other party. Syria also stresses that these zones are a temporary arrangement that must not violate the territorial unity of Syria.”

Moallem also said that Israel plays a central role in supporting the armed militias of the Syrian opposition and that Israel helps them by attacking targets belonging to the Syrian army. He said Israel’s support of Syrian opposition forces is not surprising as both sides share the same interests.

He also noted that the war in Syria would not cause Damascus to give up its claim to the Golan Heights which Israel now controls.

According to Reuters, the Lebanese television station Al Mayadeen, which is associated with the Syrian government, reported that two missiles struck near the Damascus international airport, hitting an arms depot. The station quoted Syrian officials as having said the missiles were fired by Israeli planes from outside of Syrian airspace. Much of the weapons that are transferred from Iran to Syria, with Lebanon as the final destination, are stored in this area.

There have been a number of reported airstrikes in the area of the airport that have been attributed to Israel. Reports of the sounds of explosions were posted on social media.

Hezbollah has not commented on the reports.

Over two weeks ago, on September 7, a weapons factory in western Syria was hit in an airstrike attributed to Israel and said to have been carried out from within Lebanese airspace. According to various reports, the target was a site in which Syrian and Iranian experts conducted experiments to improve the accuracy of the rockets and missiles that are delivered to Hezbollah by equipping the projectile weapons with GPS devices.

In a statement, the Syrian army confirmed an attack on what it called a military facility that killed two people and caused extensive damage.
Israel has focused its efforts in the past several years on curbing such improvement to the weapons available to Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have recently said that Israel will act to keep Hezbollah from obtaining advanced weapons.

Israel has attacked arms convoys for Hezbollah and other groups nearly 100 times since 2012, former Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel told Haaretz recently.

On Tuesday, a Patriot missile operated by the Israel Defense Forces shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah after the drone entered the demilitarized zone along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights.