Israel said to strike Iran-linked base in northern Syria
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Israel said to strike Iran-linked base in northern Syria

Al-Nayrab airbase outside Aleppo reportedly houses Iranian fighters; Syrian state media says Israeli missiles cause damage to material

Syrian anti-aircraft missiles rise into the sky as Israeli missiles hit air defense positions and other military bases, in Damascus, Syria, on May 10, 2018. (Government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)
Syrian anti-aircraft missiles rise into the sky as Israeli missiles hit air defense positions and other military bases, in Damascus, Syria, on May 10, 2018. (Government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)

Israel on Sunday night attacked a military base near Aleppo in northern Syria, the country’s official news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.

SANA said there was only damage to the site, identified as the Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport.

“The Zionist enemy (Israel)… targeted with its missiles one of our military positions north of the Nayrab military airport, but the damage was only material,” SANA said.

However, there were unconfirmed reports of casualties at the site.

Al-Nayrab has in the past been linked with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps militia.

The base was reportedly previously struck by Israel on April 29 as part of a large raid that also targeted weapons depots near Hama.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely confirms such attacks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said it had recorded a wave of blasts around Nayrab on Sunday night.

“They were caused by a missile attack, suspected to have been carried out by Israel, targeting positions held by Syria’s regime and its allies at the Neirab airport and around it,” the Britain-based monitor said.

Suspected Israeli air strikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in the central provinces of Homs and Hama in the past.

However, they rarely occur as far north as Aleppo.

The raid came hours before a high-stakes summit between Russian president Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, where Syria and Iran are expected to be on the agenda.

Israel has been pushing Russia to remove Iranian-aligned militia fighters from Syria, and has vowed to stop them from getting a foothold anywhere in the country. Russia has reportedly only agreed to removing them from the Golan border region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Putin in Moscow last week, said Sunday he had discussed the issue with Trump a day earlier.

Netanyahu reportedly told Putin during their Wednesday meeting that Israel would not challenge Assad’s control of Syria, in exchange for freedom to act against Iran.

On July 8, Israel was accused of carrying out an airstrike on the T-4 military base near Homs, also thought to be used by IRGC fighters.

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