Syria says Israeli missiles strike airbase for third time

Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2018

Syrian military air defenses struck an Israeli warplane and shot down Israeli missiles targeting the T4 air base in Homs province in response to an act of "aggression" on Sunday night, Syrian state media claimed.

"Our air defences are responding to an Israeli aggression and intercepting a number of missiles targeting the airport, hitting one of the attacking planes and forcing the rest to leave the airspace", the official SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying.

In the past, any successful air defense use against Israeli attacks was met by more intense Israeli strikes, and officials warning that Syria ought not resist future salvos.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reported attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attack targeted "Iranian forces and pro-Assad militias" and that "there are likely fatalities". Reports later surfaced that advanced Iranian Air defenses had been the target of the strike.

Damascus, as well as its allies Iran and Russian Federation, blamed Israel for an April 9 air strike on the same Homs base, an attack that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members.

Iran immediately vowed revenge and Israel launched "Operation Chess" in an effort to thwart Iranian retaliation with a series of strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.

"The Zionist regime tries to gain dominance over Syria after Daesh, but resistance forces and military advisers from the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue their presence alongside Syria to counter terrorism, " he added.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that he will insist during his meeting with Putin that Israel's national security interests vis a vis Syria are being met.

Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes inside Syria over the course of Syria's civil war, striking what it said were suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.