The damaspost.com news portal has quoted Syrian sources as saying that Israel’s nighttime air raid on Syrian military facilities near Damascus has left some 300 Syrian soldiers dead and hundreds others injured.
“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic confirms that this aggression opens the door wide to all possibilities,” the cabinet said in a statement read at a news conference by Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi.
Egypt on Sunday condemned reported Israeli air strikes on Syria, with the Arab League also demanding that the UN Security Council act to stop what it called “Israeli attacks” against the war-torn country.
The Egyptian presidency said in a statement the air strikes “violated international law and principles that will further complicate the situation.” The air strikes reportedly targeted rockets destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The Arab League, which like Egypt sides with rebels against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, demanded the Security Council “act immediately to end Israeli attacks on Syria,” which it described as a “dangerous violation of an Arab state’s sovereignty.”
The Syrian Foreign Ministry also said Sunday in a letter sent to the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council that the “Israeli aggression” killed and wounded several people and “caused widespread destruction.”
The IDF has moved two Iron Dome anti-missile installations to northern Israel. The move follows media reports according to which Israel took out two weapons shipments in Syria. The installations were moved overnight Saturday, and have been set up in Haifa and Tzfat.
Apparently bracing for possible retaliation, Israel deployed two Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the north of the country on Sunday morning, hours after it reportedly struck a shipment of Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah near Damascus.
Today, Lebanon’s National News Agency stated, “Israeli occupation army raised the degree of mobilization of its troops along the Lebanese southern border, in the wake of the raid by Israeli warplanes at dawn on targets inside Syria, a thing which was met by increased security measures by the Lebanese army and UNIFIL, in anticipation of any military developments.”
At the inauguration of a new interchange at the northern end of the Begin Highway in Jerusalem today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment on the situation in Syria. At the ceremony of the interchange, named for his late father, Netanyahu said, “He taught me about the enormous responsibility that we have to ensure the security of the State of Israel and build up its future. This heritage needs to unite us all every day and so it does.”
Israel carried out its second air strike in days on Syria early on Sunday, a Western intelligence source said, in an attack that shook Damascus with a series of powerful blasts and drove columns of fire into the night sky.
The Fars news agency paraphrased Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying Iran condemned Israel’s strike on Syria and said it was part of an effort by Israel to create instability and insecurity in the region. He urged countries in the region to stand against the “assault,” Fars reported.
The blasts occurred a day after an Israeli official said his country had carried out an air strike targeting a consignment of missiles in Syria. The research centre hit on Sunday was also targeted by Israel in January.
“The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army,” Syrian television said, referring to recent offensives by President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces against rebels.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted eyewitnesses in the area as saying they saw planes in the sky at the time of the explosions. It said the blasts hit the Jamraya military centre and a nearby ammunition depot.
The overnight Israeli strike reportedly targeted Iranian-supplied missiles to Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, a Western intelligence source told Reuters. “In last night’s attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah,” the source said.
Massive explosions have been heard near Mount Qasioun in Damascus. The area hosts the Jamraya military research center, which came under Israeli attack earlier in January and marked the first incursion by Israel into Syrian airspace in six years.
The Israeli Air Force conducted an airstrike on Syrian territory on Friday, reportedly targeting a shipment of advanced missiles. Unnamed US officials claimed that the missiles had been en-route from Iran to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.