Syria says Israel behind aerial attack against military airport

DAMASCUS, Syria – Israel carried out an aerial attack that damaged a military airport in central Syria, according to a military source quoted by Syria's state news agency SANA.

Israel "led a new attack against T4 airport... air defenses were immediately activated against the enemy missiles, destroying several of them," a military source told SANA. 

"Four missiles hit the target zone," causing damage but no human casualties, the report said.

The attack in Homs province north of the capital Damascus, happened at around 10:00 pm (2000 GMT), the source said.

In an earlier report, SANA had said Syrian air defenses were activated to confront the "aggression," without specifying who was to blame.

An Israeli army spokeswoman gave no comment on the claim when contacted by Agence France-Presse.

The incident adds to the growing tension in the Middle East after a US drone killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a targetted strike in Iraq on January 3.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out many raids against Syrian government forces and their allies, Iran and Lebanon's Tehran-backed Hezbollah group, enemies of the Jewish state.

Israel insists that it will not allow Syria to become a bridgehead for Tehran.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that Iranian forces were stationed at the military airport along with Russian advisers.

The same military base has been hit by Israeli raids in the past.

Sparked by the brutal government suppression of pro-democracy protests, the conflict in Syria has been complicated by the involvement of international powers.

It has left more than 380,000 people dead, including over 115,000 civilians. –