Large explosion in military zone of Damascus — Syrian state TV
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Large explosion in military zone of Damascus — Syrian state TV

Syrian state media gives no further details on cause; Hebrew-language media reports blast was at ammunition store

A picture taken from a government-controlled area on the outskirts of Harasta on the northeastern suburbs of Damascus on February 21, 2018, shows smoke rising from areas targeted by Syrian army shelling in the towns of Arbin and Harasta. (AFP PHOTO)
Illustrative: A picture taken from a government-controlled area on the outskirts of Harasta on the northeastern suburbs of Damascus on February 21, 2018, shows smoke rising from areas targeted by Syrian army shelling in the towns of Arbin and Harasta. (AFP PHOTO)

An explosion rocked a military area of Damascus early Saturday evening, Syrian state television reported, giving no further details on the blast.

“The blast heard in Damascus is a result of an explosion in a military zone in Mashrou Dummar”, a western suburb, state news agency SANA said.

The explosion was said to have been at an ammunition store in an area of the city housing military facilities, Hebrew-language media reported.

It was not immediately known what caused the blasts.

The explosion wounded eight pro-government fighters, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

In the predawn hours of Wednesday morning, Syrian state media reported that Israel fired several missiles toward a mountain near the Golan border. According to Syrian and Lebanese reports, the target of the strikes was infrastructure set up by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group and its allies in recent months.

According to Syria’s official SANA news outlet, the strike targeted sites around Tel al-Harra, an area that Hezbollah has previously identified as being of “great strategic importance” because of the visibility it offers of the surrounding area. There were no reports of injuries.

SANA also reported Israel had jammed Syrian air defense radars in the area, in what it called an act of electronic warfare.

Israel has not officially commented on the alleged strike.

Earlier this month, two rockets were fired from Syria toward Israel’s Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria in recent years, usually targeting bases linked with Iran.

Toward the start of the Syrian civil war, the Israeli military established a number of “red lines” that if violated would result in a retaliatory strike, including any attacks — intentional or otherwise — against Israel.

They also included Iranian efforts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and attempts to transfer advanced munitions to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group.

In recent years, Israel has acknowledged conducting hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in response to these “red line” violations.

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