Damascus, Syria — Israeli jets just bombed a Syrian Revolutionary Guard airport near Damascus, and Syrian officials are now accusing Tel Aviv of supporting terrorism.
According to several reports, the Mezzeh airport just west of the capital city was hit with a bombardment from Israeli military jets, leaving an as-yet unknown number of people dead.
“The Syrian Arab Army has warned that there will be repercussions for Israel for the ‘flagrant attack’ on the military base, state TV said, citing a Syrian army command spokesman. It also linked the alleged strike to Israel’s support of terrorist groups,’” state-run RT reports.
Differing reports claimed rockets had been fired from “an area near Lake Tiberias in northern Israel just after midnight,” which landed in the airport compound.
Explosions from the attack could be heard as far away as the city of Sana’a, causing chaos and confusion — and forcing Syria to vow reprisals.
“Rockets strike at Mezzeh Military airport in Damascus minutes ago,” tweeted Hadi al-Bahra, former president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.
— Ali Alimadadi 🇮🇷 (@alialimadadi110) January 13, 2017
Journalists and activists on the ground described a number of resulting fires from the strikes, and video of the aftermath began making rounds on social media.
— Guy Elster (@guyelster) January 12, 2017
Israel and the terrorists are attacking Damascus tonight mezzeh airport. pic.twitter.com/pOyE47KmzT
— ayham alassad (@Ayham22mmAl) January 13, 2017
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) January 13, 2017
“Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack and stresses its continued fight against (this) terrorism and amputate the arms of the perpetrators,” Syria’s army command said in a statement cited by the Telegraph.
Ambulances streamed into the area while the airport was still under attack.
Syrian government officials have recently accused the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of attacking various positions inside Syria from within Israel.
According to reports, the airport and area surrounding it is used primarily as support for the elite Syrian Revolutionary Guard and has been the base of operations for targeting rebel positions in the suburbs of Damascus.
Israel has previously targeted Hezbollah — a group it considers terrorist and a direct threat — inside Syria when those forces act in support of the Russian-backed Syrian government.
According to the Times of Israel, “The report of Israeli military action was the first in over a month. The last incident also involved an attack on the Mazzeh airbase. In early December Syrian state media reported that the IDF fired missiles from within ‘occupied’ territory at an important Syrian regime airbase outside Damascus.”
State news agency SANA reported on December 7, “several surface-to-surface missiles” struck the airbase and had emanated from the disputed Golan Heights area. An unnamed source from the Syrian army at the time called that attack a “desperate attempt” by Israel to support terrorists.
That attack did not have any casualties, but the repeated bombardment in this case does appear to have caused deaths.
After the December strike, the BBC reports, “on 30 November, Israeli jets were reported to have fired missiles from Lebanese airspace into Syria, striking Sabboura, an area outside Damascus.”
As per policy, the IDF has refused to comment on the incident.
Only scant information is available hours after this attack, so this article will be updated as needed when further details come to light.