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 The extremists had withdrawn to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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