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Israel carries out air strikes on outskirts of Damascus.

Damascus/Beirut: Syria's army accused Israel of carrying out air strikes on Sunday against two government-held areas in Damascus province, one of them near the capital's international airport. "This afternoon, the Israeli enemy targeted two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the Damascus International Airport," the army said in a statement read out on state television. It said the strikes caused damage but that nobody was hurt. No Israeli response There was no immediate reaction to the report from the Israeli authorities, but the Syrian army reiterated its claim that Israel is helping rebels seeking President Bashar Al Assad's ouster. "This direct aggression by Israel was carried out to help the terrorists in Syria, after our armed forces secured important victories in Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and elsewhere," the army said. "This proves Israel's direct support for terrorism in Syria," it added, using the regime's term to refer to both peaceful opponents, armed rebels and extremists fighting in Syria's nearly four-year war. The Israeli military has launched several strikes against Syrian military positions since the outbreak of the country's armed uprising in 2011. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said one of the sites targeted, Dimas, was a military position. Operations at the international airport are both civilian and military. Before Sunday, the most recent air raid was in March and targeted military positions in the Quneitra region that borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syria and Israel are officially in a state of war, and Israel has since 1967 occupied the Golan Heights. The occupation is not recognised by the international community. Meanwhile, Syrian troops have repelled an attack by extreists from the IS group on a key military airport in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Observatory said. Elsewhere, rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad blew up a tunnel near an ancient mosque in the northern city of Aleppo, as loyalists tightened the noose around opposition positions in the same province. "Troops and pro-regime militia stopped the attack that IS launched on the Deir Ezzor military airport," the Observatory said, adding both sides suffered heavy losses in the fighting. The extremists had withdrawn to the edges of the base, a day after managing to seize a southeastern part of the complex, it said. The Observatory said more than 100 extremists had been killed in fighting for the base since Wednesday, when they launched an operation to try to take the airport. Pro-regime forces also suffered heavy casualties, with some 59 troops killed, it said. State news agency SANA said Syrian army units had "repelled an attempt" by IS fighters to attack positions at the base, but provided no further details. Deir Ezzor base The Deir Ezzor base is a key regime outpost from which warplanes and helicopters mount raids on extremist positions in several areas of the war-wracked country. IS fighters control most of Deir Ezzor province, but half of its capital remains in government hands. The oil-rich province lies between IS-controlled Raqa province and the border with Iraq, and is a key prize for the extremist group which declared a "caliphate" straddling the two countries in June. On another front, the army secured a fresh advance in Aleppo province, said the Observatory, adding troops killed at least 24 Syrian rebels and extremist fighting northeast of the country's second city. "The army... took Breij area northeast of Aleppo city," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Dec 7, 2014
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