Syria says Israel hits territory with jets, missiles

A Syrian government plane flies over the rebel-held besieged town of Arbin, in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Jan. 8, 2018. (AFP/Amer Almohibany)
Updated 09 January 2018

Syria says Israel hits territory with jets, missiles

BEIRUT: Israeli jets and ground-to-ground missiles struck Syria early on Tuesday, Syria’s army said, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated he would do what was needed to stop Hezbollah gaining “game-changing” Iranian weapons.
The Syrian army said in a statement carried by state television that Israeli jets fired missiles at the Al-Qutaifa area near Damascus from inside Lebanese airspace at 2:40 a.m. (0040 GMT) and Syrian air defenses hit one of the planes.
Israel then fired rockets from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian defenses brought them down, the army said, adding that Israeli jets fired a final barrage of four rockets from inside Israel, one of which was intercepted by Syrian air defenses while the others caused material damage.
Israel has pledged to prevent Syrian territory being used for Iran to set up bases or transfer high-quality weaponry to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, which has been helping Damascus beat back a six-year-old rebellion.
The Israeli military declined to comment. Although the Israeli air force chief last August disclosed that his corps had struck in Syria around 100 times, Israel’s policy is generally not to confirm or deny such operations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in answer to a reporter’s question about the strikes that Israel’s policy was to stop Hezbollah moving “game-changing weapons” out of Syria.
“We back it up as necessary with action,” he said, without explicitly confirming Israel carried out Tuesday’s strikes.
In its statement, the Syrian army repeated previous warnings of serious repercussions for the strikes and repeated its past accusation that Israel was using attacks to support militant groups in Syria.
A European diplomat speaking earlier this week said there was an understanding between the United States and Russia that Hezbollah and other foreign fighters would be removed from the area in Syria close to the Israeli border.
“I don’t think that has happened very much up till now and that is a source of concern,” the diplomat said. 


Turkey orders detention of 82 military personnel over suspected Gulen links -Anadolu

Updated 9 min 32 sec ago

Turkey orders detention of 82 military personnel over suspected Gulen links -Anadolu

ISTANBUL: Turkey ordered the detention of 82 military personnel in an operation targeting supporters of the Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a failed coup in 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.
Operations targeting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen have continued under a four-year-long crackdown since the attempted coup in July 2016. Gulen denies involvement in the putsch attempt, in which some 250 people were killed.
Tuesday’s operation was spread over 39 provinces and 63 people have already been detained, Anadolu said. Of the suspects, 70 were on active duty.
The detentions were ordered by the chief prosecutor in the western coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu said, adding that it also took steps to sack 848 military personnel, including high ranking officers, over links to the network.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military alone.
Last week, a Turkish court sentenced leaders of the attempted coup to life in jail, convicting hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians over the failed bid to topple President Tayyip Erdogan.