Explosions were heard near Damascus’s airport on Thursday morning, in what some local Arabic-language media reports blamed on an Israeli airstrike.
An unnamed regional intelligence source, quoted by Reuters, said the strike was carried out by Israel and targeted an Iran-supplied Hezbollah arms depot.
The Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar news site also attributed the raid to Israel.
“Al-Manar’s correspondent reported that an explosion struck at dawn on Thursday in fuel tanks and a warehouse near Damascus International Airport and that it was probably the result of an Israeli strike,” the channel said.
It said it caused only material damage.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said the explosion early Thursday has been heard across the capital, jolting residents awake.
“The blast was huge and could be heard in Damascus,” he said.
Activist-operated Diary of a Mortar, which reports from Damascus, said the explosion near the airport road was followed by flames rising above the area. A pro-government site Damascus Now said the explosion was near the city’s Seventh Bridge, which leads to the airport road.
Some opposition-linked media reports blamed the attack on Israel, saying an initial missile strike against a weapons warehouse belonging to government forces caused fuel silos to explode, leading to a cascade of explosions that damaged a few nearby homes.
Explosions were also reported in the Al-Mazzeh area of the Syrian capital, apparently at the Mazzeh Air Base, a military airstrip used by regime forces.
There was no immediate confirmation of the cause for the explosions from either Syrian or Israeli sources.
Video shows moments explosions start near Damascus airport tonight. Local media attributing to Israel. More details likely to emerge later. pic.twitter.com/jhiOZjUHnV
— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) April 27, 2017
Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering mostly sporadic incidents of spillover fire that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Israel has responded to the errant fire with limited reprisals on Syrian positions.
Israel is widely believed to have carried out 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 such operations on an individual basis.
In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hezbollah, which fought a 2006 war with Israel and is now battling alongside the Damascus regime.
Late last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the IDF only carries out raids in Syria for three reasons: when Israel comes under fire, to prevent arms transfers, and to avert a “ticking timebomb,” namely to thwart imminent terror attacks on Israel by groups on its borders.