Syria has denied reports that Israel struck a munitions warehouse at the Al-Mezzeh Military Airport near Damascus in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said violent explosions had rocked the sight, causing “significant material damage” and confirmed casualties.
However, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) later said that the explosions at the base were caused by an electric short circuit.
SANA quoted a military sources as saying that “no Israeli aggression was launched on al-Mezzeh Airport and that the explosions heard in Damascus were due to the explosion of an ammunition depot near the airport which was caused by a short circuit.”
The Al-Mezzeh Airport has been struck multiple times in recent years, with some of the attacks attributed to Israel by foreign sources. The airport is believed to serve as a base of operations for Hezbollah and Iranian forces operating within Syria.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel will continue to carry out military actions against Iranian entrenchment efforts in Syria. Speaking at a ceremony naming Israel’s Negev Nuclear Research Center after former president Shimon Peres, Netanyahu said: “we are acting to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria. We won’t shy away from this goal, just as we did not shy away from the effort to get the bad nuclear deal with Iran canceled.
“The IDF will continue to act with absolute determination and with all of its might against Iranian attempts to station troops and advanced weapons’ systems in Syria,” Netanyahu continued. “No agreement between Syria and Iran will scare us, nor will any threat deter us. Anyone who threatens us with annihilation will find himself under the same threat. They won’t succeed anyway.” he added.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that as far as Israel is concerned, all ongoing talks about the future of Syria once the civil war in that country has ended, are irrelevant, and that the only thing that matters from Jerusalem’s perspective are Israel’s security interests.
“We are seeing different kinds of gatherings all over the place, also in Ankara, also in Tehran, also in Geneva and in other places. They are talking about the reshaping of Syria after the battle for Idlib,” said Liberman. “As far as Israel is concerned, and with all due respect and appreciation for all of the agreements and understandings – they do not obligate us. What obligates us are the security interests of the state of Israel. All other agreements and understandings reached all over the place, are simply irrelevant to us.”
Written by Yona Schnitzer/TPS | Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS