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Thursday 31 October 2013

Israeli planes strike Syrian military base - US official confirms

Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian air defense base near the port city of Latakia on Thursday, an Obama administration official confirmed to CNN.

The US official said that the Israelis believed the base near Snobar Jableh, south of Latakia, had sensitive and sophisticated missile equipment that may have been transferred to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The strikes targeted and destroyed an SA-8 surface-to-air missile shipment, Israeli media reported.

Earlier, Dubai-based broadcaster al-Arabiya reported two attacks carried out by the Israeli Air Forces – one in Latakia and the other one in Damascus.

Neither the Syrian nor Israeli governments have commented on the alleged attacks.

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry declined to speak on the matter.

"We're not commenting on these reports," he told Reuters.

However, an Israeli official speaking anonymously to the news agency said he was inclined to believe that Israel had carried out a strike, although he was not entirely certain.

The Lebanese military said it observed six Israeli jets flying over Lebanese territory on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Israeli jets frequently fly over Lebanon, but such high numbers have in the past been an indication of a military strike against Syria.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said there was a series of explosions at a Syrian air defense base in the Mediterranean coastal province of Latakia.

"Several explosions were heard in an air defense base in the Snubar Jableh area," SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that the reason for the blasts remains “unclear.”

No casualties have been reported.

Meanwhile, a Syrian security source said that "a rocket fell near the base, causing a fire to break out," AFP reported.

However, RT Arabic’s source within the Syrian security forces has denied the media reports.

Ammar al-Asad, head of the foreign affairs committee within the Syrian National Council, said in an interview with RT that "In Latakia, we did not hear any sounds, incidents, or anything that can prove the attack happened."


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