Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Israel Launches Airstrikes Deep Within Syrian Territory

Syrian military facilities under the control of forces loyal to Syrian president Bashr Al Assad were struck by the Israeli air force in multiple raids over the weekend.

The first airstrike reportedly targeted Damascus International Airport where long-range missiles from Iran and reportedly destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon were targeted.

The second strike was considerably more dramatic.

On Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck Syria's Jamraya Military research center- where Western observers believe Assad's military develops unconventional weapons. The facility is also home to a Presidential Guard brigade said to be commanded by Bashr al-Assad's brother, Maher al-Assad.
Damascus was shaken by repeated explosions coming from the north-western suburbs.

Amateur video footage and eye witness testimony suggested rocket attacks had hit weapons dumps, triggering dramatic orange-flamed blasts.

The area houses numerous military facilities, including the Jamraya research centre, designated by Syria as a scientific research centre "in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence".

A state TV bulletin said: "The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups, which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army."

Damascus-based journalist Alaa Ebrahim told the BBC it was "the biggest explosion" the city had seen since the conflict began two years ago.

He said residents living near Jamraya reported feeling a "mild earthquake" just before the blast, indicating that the rockets may have hit an underground facility.

In addition to being located on the outskirts of Damascus, the Jamraya facility is located close to the Lebanese border, which makes facilitating the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah fairly easy.

While Israel has seemed reluctant to involve itself in Syria's ongoing civil war, this weekend's strikes were meant to send a message to Bashr al-Assad and Hezbollah's main benefactor, Iran. The missiles that were reportedly destined for Hezbollah were Iranian-made Fateh 110 ground to ground missiles, which have a range of 200 miles.

Although the Assad regime and Syria's state-run media have claimed that Israel is acting in concert with the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups, Israel actually stands to gain very little from the uncontrolled collapse of the Assad regime on their doorstep.

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