Over 30 regime troops killed in blast at Syrian air base: Monitor

A munitions blast killed 31 regime and allied fighters at a military airport in central Syria Saturday. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 August 2019

Over 30 regime troops killed in blast at Syrian air base: Monitor

  • The Shayrat airbase is one of the regime's most significant installations in the centre of the country
  • In 2017, US air strikes hit the base in response to a suspected sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Syria that killed more than 80 people

BEIRUT: A munitions blast killed 31 regime and allied forces at a military airport in central Syria on Saturday, a war monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain and relies on a network of sources on the ground, said it was unclear what had caused the deadly explosion at the Shayrat Airbase in Homs province.
But state news agency SANA reported that a “technical fault during the transport of expired ammunition” had killed an unspecified number of victims.
The Shayrat Airbase is one of the regime’s most significant installations in the center of the country.
Iranian fighters — who support the regime in Syria’s ongoing civil war — are based there, according to the Observatory.
In 2017, US airstrikes hit the base in response to a suspected sarin gas attack on the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Syria that killed more than 80 people.
According to the Pentagon, US intelligence had established that the base was the launchpad for the alleged chemical attack.
The opposition dominating Idlib warned that regime violations would effectively “nullify” the cease-fire, which Damascus said will depend on rebel backer Turkey implementing a buffer zone in the area.

FASTFACT

The Shayrat Airbase is one of the regime’s most significant installations in the center of the country.

Most of Idlib province and parts of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia are controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham.
The region is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a Turkish-Russian deal struck in September in the Russian resort of Sochi.
On Thursday, a new ceasefire went into effect as Syria peace talks resumed in Kazakhstan between Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,00 people since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

 


Netanyahu warns foes after Israeli retaliatory strikes in Syria

Updated 04 August 2020

Netanyahu warns foes after Israeli retaliatory strikes in Syria

  • Israel launched air strikes on military targets in southern Syria late Monday
  • Monday’s actions were in response to an increased threat from the Iran-backed Hezbollah

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday pledged a tough response to any threats against Israel after the Jewish state struck Syrian military targets in retaliation for an attempted attack in the occupied Golan Heights.
“We hit a cell and now we hit the dispatchers. We will do what is necessary in order to defend ourselves,” he said during a tour of a military facility in central Israel.
“These are not vain words; they have the weight of the State of Israel and the (military) behind them and this should be taken seriously,” the veteran premier added.
Israel launched air strikes on military targets in southern Syria late Monday. The army said it was retaliating after an attempt to lay explosives in the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967.
Syrian state-run news agency Sana said Israeli helicopters rocketed Syrian army positions near Quneitra in the south but caused only material damage. It also said air defenses had gone into action near the Syrian capital.
Tensions are already high between bitter rivals Israel and Syria.
Last month, Israeli army helicopters struck military targets in southern Syria in retaliation for earlier “munitions” fire toward Israel.
Earlier Monday, the Israeli army said it had killed four men laying explosives near the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights.
Several Israeli media outlets reported that Monday’s actions were in response to an increased threat from the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which has a significant presence in Syria.
Last month, five Iran-backed fighters were killed in an Israeli missile strike south of Damascus, according to Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Then last Monday, Israel said it had thwarted an infiltration attempt from Lebanon by up to five Hezbollah gunmen, a claim denied by the Iran-backed group.
Israel reported an exchange of fire that forced the “terrorists” back into Lebanon. It said it fired artillery across the heavily guarded border for “defensive” purposes.
Since 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria, targeting government troops and allied Iranian and Hezbollah forces and vowing to end Iran’s military presence in Syria.