Syria accuses Israel of bombing outpost near Damascus

Miranda GreerMay 07, 2017

A huge explosion shook Damascus in what state media said was an Israeli missile strike on a military installation near the Syrian capital's global airport.

A news agency, citing an intelligence source, said the depot that was targeted handles a significant amount of weapons that Tehran, a major regional ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, sends regularly by air.

The state's intelligence minister, Israel Katz, confirmed that such a raid would comply with government policy.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the powerful blast was heard across the capital at dawn on Thursday, April 27 and that it was believed to have happened near the main road that leads to the airport.

Photos of a major blaze posted to social media sites appear to confirm the suspicion that either a fuel storage unit or explosive weapons dump were hit.

Since the outbreak of the Syria conflict in early 2011, Israel has occasionally struck positions inside its war-torn neighbor, especially after mortar shells - allegedly fired from Syrian territory - fell inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"We are acting to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon by Iran", Katz told army radio.

Israel does not usually confirm or deny each individual raid it carries out.

A month after that, the Patriot system was used to down a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24, which penetrated Israeli air space.

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Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has tracked air traffic between Iran and Syria for years, said the planes were most likely delivering weapons.

The source said numerous arms are destined for an array of Iran-backed militias, led by Hezbollah, which have thousands of fighters engaged in some of the toughest fronts against Syrian rebels.

An Israeli missile strike has caused a large explosion and fire at a military site near Damascus global airport, Syrian state media report, according to BBC News.

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