Syria says Israeli jets carry out airstrike near Aleppo

Monitor says target of attack was Iranian weapons warehouse, 4 reported killed as blasts cause blackout in whole city; no comment from Israel

Explosions at the Aleppo airport allegedly caused by Israeli strikes on March 27, 2019 (Screencapture/Twitter)
Explosions at the Aleppo airport allegedly caused by Israeli strikes on March 27, 2019 (Screencapture/Twitter)

Syrian air defense batteries opened fire on “hostile Israel missiles” near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday night, the official news agency SANA reported. The site has been targeted before and is believed to be an Iranian base.

SANA said the airstrike targeted several bases near an industrial zone by the airport and that air defenses had managed to intercept several incoming missiles.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli bombardment hit “ammunition stores belonging to Iranian forces and allied groups, and caused huge explosions.”

It added that at least four people, believed to be warehouse guards, were killed.

A number of residents of Aleppo city told AFP that the attack led to a power cut in the whole city.

Israeli officials made no statement on the reports, but seldom comment on alleged strikes.

The night strikes come at a time of heightened tension between Israel and Syria, following Monday’s decision by the US administration to recognize Israel’s control over the Golan Heights it captured from Syria in 1967. The decision sparked  condemnation and protests in Syria.

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.

Israel has twice before been accused of targeting the  Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport in an airstrike last year. Al-Nayrab has in the past been linked with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps militia.

Satellite images from July 7 and 17, 2018, showing the results of an alleged Israeli airstrike on an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces. (ImageSat International ISI)

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.

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