Syria: Israeli missiles hit Damascus airport warehouse

Syrian air defenses shot down missiles fired by “Israeli military planes” at around 11.00 p.m. local time (2100 UTC), Syria’s official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.

“Only a ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus international airport was hit,” SANA said.

Israel has previously carried out missile strikes against what it says are Iranian military targets and arms stores within Syria that are linked to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group. Israel says it would not allow Iran, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad, to set up military bases in Syria.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor confirmed the missile attack, saying at least two Israeli rockets hit the outskirts of the airport.

  • Syrien Luftangriffe gegen Ost-Ghouta (picture alliance/abaca/A. Al-Bushy )

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    War with no end

    Syria has been engulfed in a devastating civil war since 2011 after Syrian President Bashar Assad lost control over large parts of the country to multiple revolutionary groups. The conflict has since drawn in foreign powers and brought misery and death to Syrians.

  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The dictator

    Syria’s army, officially known as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), is loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is fighting to restore the president’s rule over the entire country. The SAA has been fighting alongside a number of pro-Assad militias such as the National Defense Force and has cooperated with military advisors from Russia and Iran, which back Assad.

  • A Turkish flag waving on the border to Syria

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The northern watchman

    Turkey, which is also part of the US-led coalition against IS, has actively supported rebels opposed to Assad. It has a tense relationship with its American allies over US cooperation with Kurdish fighters, who Ankara says are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting in Turkey. The Turkish military has intervened alongside rebels in northern Aleppo, Afrin and Idlib province.

  • Russian president Vladimir Putin

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The eastern guardian

    The Kremlin has proven to be a powerful friend to Assad. Russian air power and ground troops officially joined the fight in September 2015 after years of supplying the Syrian army. Moscow has come under fire from the international community for the high number of civilian casualties during its airstrikes. However, Russia’s intervention turned the tide in war in favor of Assad.

  • Donald Trump

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The western allies

    A US-led coalition of more than 50 countries, including Germany, began targeting IS and other terrorist targets with airstrikes in late 2014. The anti-IS coalition has dealt major setbacks to the militant group. The US has more than a thousand special forces in the country backing the Syrian Democratic Forces.

  • Members of the Free Syrian Army shout slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The rebels

    The Free Syrian Army grew out of protests against the Assad regime that eventually turned violent. Along with other non-jihadist rebel groups, it seeks the ouster of President Assad and democratic elections. After suffering a number of defeats, many of its members defected to hardline militant groups. It garnered some support from the US and Turkey, but its strength has been greatly diminished.

  • Female Syrian YPG fighters

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The resistance

    Fighting between Syrian Kurds and Islamists has become its own conflict. The US-led coalition against the “Islamic State” has backed the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. The Kurdish YPG militia is the main component of the SDF. The Kurds have had a tacit understanding with Assad.

  • Islamic State terrorist in a jet plane in Syria

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The new jihadists

    “Islamic State” (IS) took advantage of regional chaos to capture vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014. Seeking to establish its own “caliphate,” IS has become infamous for its fundamentalist brand of Islam and its mass atrocities. IS is facing defeat in both countries after the US and Russia led separate military campaigns against the militant group.

  • A fighter from Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front holds his group flag as he stands in front of the governor building in Idlib province

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The old jihadists

    IS is not the only terrorist group that has ravaged Syria. A number of jihadist militant groups are fighting in the conflict, warring against various rebel factions and the Assad regime. One of the main jihadist factions is Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which controls most of Idlib province and has ties with al-Qaeda.

  • A military truck carrying Shalamcheh missiles drives past the presidential rostrum during the annual Army Day military parade on April 18, 2014 in Tehran

    Who’s fighting in the Syria conflict?

    The Persian shadow

    Iran has supported Syria, its only Arab ally, for decades. Eager to maintain its ally, Tehran has provided Damascus with strategic assistance, military training and ground troops when the conflict emerged in 2011. The Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah also supports the Assad regime, fighting alongside Iranian forces and paramilitary groups in the country.

    Author: Elizabeth Schumacher, Alexander Pearson

Targeting Iranian depots

The Observatory said that Israeli rockets had also hit targets in the countryside southwest of Damascus where there are arms depots for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.

Lebanese residents near the Syrian border reported hearing the sound of Israeli warplanes in Lebanese airspace shortly before explosions were heard over the Syrian capital.

Iranian and government targets inside Syria have been hit several times since April. On December 25, a similar strike near Damascus wounded three Syrian soldiers.

The United States, a close Israeli ally, recently announced a withdrawal of its forces from Syria.

00:40 mins.

jm/amp (dpa, AFP)

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