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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, December 15, 2017

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Syria alleges Israel targetted its military base in Damascus

Israeli military launched surface-to-surface missiles

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DAMASCUS, Syria - Syria has accused Israel of launching missiles in a bid to attack its military installation near the Syrian capital Damascus overnight.

According to the Syrian state TV, the Israeli military launched surface-to-surface missiles at a military installation outside Damascus and while the attack caused damage, two missiles were intercepted.

The state SANA news agency reported, “At half past midnight (2230 GMT Friday), the Israeli enemy fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military position in Damascus province. The air defences of the Syrian army were able to deal with the attack... destroying two of the missiles," adding that the attack nonetheless caused "material damage.”

So far, Israeli has not confirmed it carried out the strike but the Britain-based monitoring group - the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported explosions near Damascus.

The Observatory said that the explosions were caused by a suspected Israeli missile attack.

The Syrian state TV report noted that material losses were witnessed at the military base, but the extent of the damage is not yet clear.

According to a statement issued by the Head of the Syrian Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, the strike destroyed an arms depot, but that it was not clear which side the arms depot belonged to.

The Syrian Observatory added that the attack took place near El-Kiswah, a few miles south of Damascus.

Previously, Israel has targeted Syria’s weapons sites to prevent arms being transferred to Syria's Lebanese ally Hezbollah. 

Israel has also raised concerns about Iran’s steadily increasing influence in the region - especially during the Syrian war - due to its own Revolutionary Guard forces or the groups it backs, especially Hezbollah.

The Israeli air force has particularly singled out arms convoys and suspected arms shipments to Hezbollah, though most of them have hit near Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also warned that Israel would not allow Iran to establish any military presence in Syria and has warned his country would act against any threat from its regional foe Tehran.

During more than six years of the bloody civil war in Syria, the Israeli air force has acknowledged to have struck arms convoys of the Syrian military and Lebanon's Hezbollah nearly 100 times 

The strike on Saturday, comes amid escalating violence between government forces and rebels in the Damascus suburbs. 

Iran has provided critical support to Syrian President Bashar al Assad's military in fighting Syrian rebels and Islamic State militants. 

Further, Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, including Hezbollah, have helped Damascus regain control of swathes of the country.

In October, during a visit to Damascus, Iran's military chief warned Israel against breaching Syrian airspace or territory.

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