Israel is Trying to Legitimize Airstrikes on Syria

Cheryl Sanders
April 29, 2017

Syria accused Israel of air strikes on a Hezbollah-operated arms depot near the airport in Damascus.

An apparent Israeli missile attack on a Syrian military installation near Damascus International Airport shook the capital early on Thursday morning and raised tensions between the two hostile neighbors.

Thursday's attack comes after Russia, Iran and other pro-government allied forces had vowed to respond forcefully to any "aggression ... by anyone" in the wake of a USA cruise missile strike on Syria earlier this month. Israel, of course, attacks Syria regularly, but rarely confirms them publicly.

Earlier Thursday, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz appeared to confirm that Israel was behind the overnight strike.

Katz, who is also transportation minister, told Army Radio in an interview that "the incident is completely compatible with our policy of preventing weapons transfer to Hezbollah", the Lebanon-based terror group supported by the Syrian regime and Iran.

Israel has been carrying out strikes in Syria throughout the civil war to block the transfer of what has been described as game-changing weapons to Hezbollah.

Israel seems determined to take action against Hezbollah since Iran, allegedly, had the intention of building a military base near Golan Heights and has been building facilities to manufacture weapons inside Lebanon.

Syrian state media said Israeli missiles hit a military position southwest of the airport, but did not mention arms or fuel.

Russia, a longtime ally of the Syrian regime, said outside forces should avoid causing conflict in Syria.

"A fire broke out in the area, but the cause of the explosion is still unknown", he said. As per the Lebanese news channel, Al Mayadeen, missiles launch by Israel passed over the Golan heights.

The airport, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) southeast of the city centre, was hit by Israeli air strikes in December 2014, Syrian state media reported at the time.

Last Saturday too, Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, said Moscow would not hesitate to supply Damascus with the air defense missile systems it needs to protect war-ravaged Syria against any future foreign military aggression once a bilateral agreement is reached.

According to the IDF, the Syrian UAV was under "full [Israeli Air Force] surveillance" while it was in Israeli airspace. "It also provides them with medical assistance in its hospitals", Assad said, as quoted by Sana news agency. The drone, most likely Russian, safely returned to Syria after two Patriot missiles and a warplane failed to intercept it.

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