Syria warns Israel to ‘play with fire’ after alleged overnight airstrikes

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad issued a stark warning to Israel on Thursday after Damascus accused Jerusalem of airstrikes the previous night.

Mekdad said Israel was “playing with fire” and risking a wider military conflict, according to Arab media.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The ongoing Israeli military aggression threatens to blow up the security and military situation in the region.

“Syria will not remain silent in the face of these aggressions, and sooner or later the Israelis will pay the price.”

The ministry accused the United States and the West of “turning a blind eye and encouraging Israel.”

On Wednesday evening, Syria said Israel had carried out two consecutive airstrikes, the first against Aleppo international airport and the second near the capital Damascus.

A fire was reportedly seen at Aleppo International Airport in northern Syria following an airstrike attributed to Israel on August 31, 2022. (Social media)

According to the state-run SANA news agency, the first airstrike damaged the airport in northern Syria. He did not provide further details.

Aleppo is a major city in northern Syria, near its border with Turkey, and is a rare, but not unprecedented, target for reported Israeli airstrikes.

Shortly after the strike on Aleppo, SANA said the air defenses were engaging another Israeli airstrike, over the capital Damascus. The news agency claimed that a number of “hostile missiles” had been shot down over Damascus and the surrounding countryside. Syria regularly claims to intercept Israeli missiles, although military analysts doubt these claims.

SANA said damage was caused to several sites hit in the attack near Damascus, without giving further details.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the alleged attacks.

The Israeli military typically does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has admitted to carrying out hundreds of sorties against Iranian-backed groups trying to gain a foothold in the country. It says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be destined for these groups, the main one being Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

According to Aurora Intel, a network that provides information and updates based on open source intelligence, a sanctioned Iranian cargo plane had landed at Aleppo airport earlier on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, airstrikes attributed to Israel caused extensive damage to Damascus International Airport, halting all air traffic for two weeks.

Typically, relatively large weapons are believed to be smuggled through Syria on Iranian cargo airlines, which frequently land at Damascus International and Tiyas Air Base, or T-4, outside Syria. the central Syrian city of Palmyra. It is believed that the weapons are then stored in warehouses in the region before being transported by truck to Lebanon.

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