Friday, 22 September 2017

Israeli jets bombed site close to Damascus airport, reports say

Israeli jets have reportedly bombed an area near the Damascus international airport in the third attack in as many weeks by the Israeli military on targets associated with the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
According to social media reports on sites associated with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Israeli planes fired at least two missiles from outside Syrian airspace, hitting either a weapons depot or a convoy.
The Facebook page of the National Guard for the Defence of the Homeland, allied with the Syrian military, reported that “an area near the Damascus international airport was attacked by a hostile missile”, while images showed a fire burning in the early hours of Friday.
The Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen also reported the attack.
The latest airstrikes mark a recent increase in Israeli interventions which have coincided with diplomatic warnings by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that his country will not accept an enhanced Iranian and Hezbollah presence on its northern borders.
While there have been many attacks attributed to Israel in the area around the airport – where there are arms depots associated with weapons that Israel says are being supplied to Hezbollah by Iran – the issue has become more pressing in recent months as it has become clear the Assad regime, backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, is winning on the battlefield.
Israel has made clear it is deeply concerned by a “day after” scenario involving an expanded Iranian and Hezbollah presence to its north.
The latest reported attack comes only days after Israel shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah after it entered the demilitarised zone along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. Two weeks ago Israeli warplanes struck a base associated with Syria’s chemical weapons production.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the civil war, said the attack earlier this month was on a facility of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, an agency which the US describes as Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturer.
An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports of the airstrike, saying: “We do not respond to such reports.” 
Israel, which fought a 2006 war with Hezbollah, sees red lines in the shipment to the powerful Shia group of anti-aircraft missiles, precision ground-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons.