Syria calls on UN to ‘punish’ Israel over airport attack

Israel reportedly fired missiles overnight at weapons depot on edge of Damascus

A general view shows flames and smoke at the Mezzeh military airport on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus following an explosion early on January 13, 2017. (AFP)
A general view shows flames and smoke at the Mezzeh military airport on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus following an explosion early on January 13, 2017. (AFP)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria on Friday called on the international community to “punish” Israel for an apparent missile attack near a major military airport west of Damascus, and accused the US, Britain and France of supporting the assault.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the missile attack in two letters to the UN secretary-general and the president of the UN Security Council, saying such an attack would not have occurred had it not been for the “direct support from the outgoing American administration and French and British leaderships.”

The ministry said the Israeli assault at the Mezzeh military airport comes as part of a series of periodic Israel attacks that started with Syria’s war in March 2011. It called on the international community to “punish the Israeli aggressor.”

The attack was the third such incident recently, according to the Syrian government.

The Lebanese al-Meyadeen news outlet reported that the strike targeted a weapons depot. Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent weapons transfers to Hezbollah.

In a statement carried on the official news agency SANA, the Syrian military said several missiles were launched just after midnight from an area near Lake Tiberias.

The missiles fell in the vicinity of the Mezzeh military airport on the western edge of the Syrian capital. The statement did not say whether there were any casualties.

Residents of Damascus reported hearing several explosions that shook the city. The Mezzeh airport compound, located on the southwestern edge of the capital, had been used to launch attacks on rebel-held areas near Damascus and has previously come under rebel fire.

The Syrian army said Israel, through its attacks, was assisting “terrorist groups” fighting the Syrian government.

“The Syrian army command and armed forces warn the Israeli enemy of the repercussions of this blatant attack and stress that it will continue its war on terrorism,” the statement said.

On Dec. 7, the Syrian government reported Israel fired surface-to-surface missiles that also struck near the Mezzeh airport. A week earlier, SANA said Israeli jets fired two missiles from Lebanese airspace toward the outskirts of Damascus, in the Sabboura area.

The Israeli military has declined to comment on those incidents, and there was no immediate comment on Friday’s reported attack.

Israel is widely believed to have carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria in the past few years that have targeted advanced weapons systems, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, as well as positions of the Lebanese terrorist Hezbollah group in Syria.

The Shiite group has sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to support President Bashar Assad’s forces in the country’s civil war, now in its sixth year.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman recently reiterated his government’s position to not get involved in the Syrian war.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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