Syria files UN complaint after alleged Israeli airstrikes near Damascus airport
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Syria files UN complaint after alleged Israeli airstrikes near Damascus airport

Syrian military source says target likely a depot near airport; Assad regime accuses US of helping Israel ‘get away’ with attacks

This frame grab from a video provided by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows missiles flying into the sky near Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (SANA via AP)
This frame grab from a video provided by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows missiles flying into the sky near Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (SANA via AP)

Syria on Saturday said it filed complaints with the UN Security Council and with UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres over alleged Israeli airstrikes on Friday near Damascus.

According to the Syrian military, “Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus,” on Friday night. The official news agency SANA reported that Syrian air defense batteries opened fire on “hostile Israel missiles” and intercepted “most” of them.

A Syrian military source said the target appears to have been a “ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus international airport.” Another official told SANA traffic at the airport had not been disrupted.

An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several loud explosions.

“Two areas hosting military positions of Iranian forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement have been targeted,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

These were near the airport and around the Kisweh area south of Damascus, the observatory said.

In an earlier report on Friday, SANA had spoken of Syrian air defense batteries attacking “enemy targets.”

Israeli officials made no statement on Friday’s reports, but seldom comment on alleged strikes.

Syria on Saturday said Israel was able “get away with attacks against Syria” only because it is backed by the US, according to the Syrian foreign ministry.

Israel in recent years has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to Iran, which alongside its proxies and Russia is fighting on behalf of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The previous such reported airstrike occurred on Christmas Day. On that occasion, a Syrian anti-aircraft missile flew into Israeli airspace, and was destroyed by Israeli air defenses.

Israel has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

The number of airstrikes in Syria attributed to Israel has dropped in recent months, after a Russian military plane was downed by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli attack on Latakia, killing all 15 servicemen aboard.

Russia blamed the Israeli military for that incident — a charge rejected by Jerusalem — and has supplied Syria with the advanced S-300 air defense system.

The S-300 systems were delivered to Syria late last year, but they are not yet believed to be in use, as the Syrian air defense teams still need to be trained to operate them.

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