Syria Activates Air Defence Against “Israeli Aggression”

Syria’s air defence system has been activated against an “Israeli aggression” in Damascus,

Israeli planes arrived from Lebanese air space, reported Sana, which said there had been “explosions in Damascus”. The news agency gave no indication of any deaths or damage.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported “violent explosions felt in Damascus and around the city, followed by Israeli strikes on military positions” of the Syrian army.

The air strikes targeted an area “close to Damascus’s international airport, as well as a Syrian air force battalion in the Dumayr region”, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Damascus, where “explosions took place at arms depots”, according to the Observatory.

“Air strikes also took place in the south of Homs province” while “explosions were felt in the provinces of Hama and Latakia” in the north and northwest respectively.

“The strikes have led to human losses in Homs, where rescue teams have been despatched to the targeted sites,” the Observatory said, without giving a toll.

Observatory chief Rami Abdul Rahman told that “these are the first Israeli strikes in Syria since the recent war in Gaza” between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

The Israeli army, which rarely acknowledges its strikes in Syria, told AFP: “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”

Since the start of the war in neighbouring Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory, targeting regime positions as well as allied Iranian forces and members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

Israel regularly reiterates that it will not allow Syria to become a stronghold of its sworn enemy Iran.

The war in Syria, which began in 2011 with the regime’s repression of pro-democracy protests, has grown increasingly complex over the past decade, drawing in more and more parties.

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