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Syrian army: Israel fires rockets at air base near capital

The explosions were heard in the capital, and residents in the southwest suburbs saw a large plume of smoke rising from the area

Published: Updated:

Syrian army command said on Friday that Israel fired rockets at a major military airbase outside Damascus, and warned Tel Aviv of repercussions of what it called a “flagrant” attack.

The explosions were heard in the capital, and residents in the southwest suburbs saw a large plume of smoke rising from the area, while video footage downloaded on social media showed flames leaping from parts of Mezzah military airport’s compound.

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Syrian state television quoted the army as saying several rockets were fired from an area near Lake Tiberias in northern Israel just after midnight which landed in the compound of the airbase, used by President Bashar al-Assad’s elite Republican Guards.

“Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack and stresses its continued fight against (this) terrorism and amputate the arms of the perpetrators,” the army command said in a statement.

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The statement did not disclose if there were any casualties, but said the rockets caused a fire. Earlier, state television said several major explosions hit Mezzah military airport’s compound and ambulances were rushed to the area. Government forces had in the past used the base to fire rockets at former rebel-held areas in the capital's suburbs.

The airport, located just a few kilometers from Assad’s presidential palace, had been a base used to fire rockets at former rebel-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus. Only last November, the Syrian army said Israeli jets fired two missiles on an area west of the capital, close to the Damascus Beirut-highway, in an attack mounted from Lebanese air space.