Syria charges Is­raeli mis­siles landed near military air­port

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - WORLD -

BEIRUT — Syria ac­cused Is­rael of fir­ing mis­siles early Fri­day that landed near a ma­jor military base west of Da­m­as­cus, in the third such re­ported at­tack in nearly six weeks to hit near the cap­i­tal.

The Syr­ian govern­ment was quick to re­spond, warn­ing Is­rael of the reper­cus­sions of such at­tacks. But it re­frained from say­ing whether it would re­tal­i­ate.

Da­m­as­cus, pre­oc­cu­pied with the coun­try’s civil war for six years now, is un­likely to open a new front with Is­rael. Mean­while, Is­rael has de­liv­ered the oc­ca­sional mes­sage to Da­m­as­cus by tar­get­ing ship­ments of weapons headed to the Le­banese Hezbol­lah group.

The group is a main sup­porter of Syria’s Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad in the civil war and has sent thou­sands of fight­ers to fight along­side his army.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Is­rael on Fri­day to the Syr­ian claims of a strike. Is­rael is widely be­lieved to have car­ried out a num­ber of airstrikes on ad­vanced weapons sys­tems in Syria — in­clud­ing Rus­sian-made anti-air­craft mis­siles and Ira­nian-made mis­siles, as well as Hezbol­lah po­si­tions — but it rarely con­firms them.

Is­rael has largely been spared any spillover from Syria’s war, but it has voiced con­cerned with the role there of Hezbol­lah, the guer­rilla group with which Is­rael has fought mul­ti­ple wars, most re­cently in 2006.

As­sad’s army has re­lied heav­ily on Hezbol­lah and Ira­nian and Iraqi mili­tias, us­ing their help to achieve a num­ber of vic­to­ries, most re­cently last month in Aleppo.

Hezbol­lah, which calls Is­rael its main en­emy, has gained new bat­tle­field ex­pe­ri­ence, but it is likely to con­tinue to be tied down in the Syria con­flict.

The mis­siles fired early Fri­day fell in the vicin­ity of the Mezzeh military air­port on the west­ern edge of the Syr­ian cap­i­tal and sparked a fire, Syria’s state news agency SANA said.

The re­port did not say if there were ca­su­al­ties.

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