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    Sunday, 2 September 2018

    Attack at Syrian air base, vast casualties expected


    A number of loud explosions were heard on Saturday night at the Mezzeh airbase near Damascus.
    Local media outlets reported that there were deaths and injuries as a result of the explosion at the base, which has been attacked in the past.
    According to the reports, "the air defense operated against a missile attack that came from outside Syria." The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen network, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, claimed that Israel attacked the airbase with missiles.
    The Arabic-language Sky News network reported that the attack targeted ammunition depots and a military position belonging to Iranian forces and Shiite militias operating at the airbase.
    However, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that the explosions were caused by an electrical problem that was caused by a technical malfunction rather than an Israeli attack.
    In late July, Arab media outlets claimed that Israeli fighter jets hit targets in Syria’s Hama province.
    Lebanese media outlets claimed that Israeli aircraft were spotted over Lebanese airspace, while Syrian sources claimed that targets had been hit Sunday evening outside of the city of Masyaf, located in the Hama province in northwestern Syria.
    Unconfirmed reports claimed that the targets hit included weapons development centers run by the Assad regime.
    Syrian state media said loud blasts coming from an airbase early on Sunday were from an explosion at an ammunition dump caused by an electrical problem, but an official in the regional alliance backing Damascus said they were from Israeli strikes. The state media cited a military source as saying there was no “Israeli aggression” directed at the Mezzeh airbase near Damascus, after the sound of explosions was heard across the Syrian capital.
    The official had said the blasts were caused by Israeli missile fire from across the Golan Heights frontier between the two countries and by Syrian air defenses responding.
    A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also attributed the blasts to Israeli strikes, which it said caused deaths and injuries.
    Israel has previously acknowledged having carried out air strikes in Syria aimed at degrading the capacity of Iran and its allies, including Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah group, which are backing Assad in the country’s seven-year civil war.
    There was no immediate comment from Israel on reports of Sunday’s blasts or that it was behind them.
    In May, it said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries.
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