Syria charges Israeli missiles landed near military airport
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.