A military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrike Thursday night, in what a Syrian war-monitoring group says was a suspected Israeli strike on munitions depots belonging to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, The Times of Israel reported.
“Six missiles were fired at the Daba’a military airport and surrounding area in the western sector of Homs province, targeting Lebanese Hezbollah weapons warehouses,” Rami Abd el-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP. Syrian media outlets charged that S-200 anti-aircraft missiles were fired during the attack on the air base.
The Observatory group identified Israel as the likely perpetrator. “The missiles would have been fired by Israel,” el-Rahman said. The Israeli military refused to comment on the strike.
The attack sparked large explosions, which were heard throughout the area. The monitoring group said Friday that it’s not clear if there were any casualties in the strikes on the Daba’a air base in central Homs province. However, Syrian opposition news sites reported that at least 25 Iranian and Hezbollah fighters were killed in the attack.
The installation, which is located north of the town of al-Qusayr, was captured by Hezbollah forces from opposition troops in 2013, in a game-changing development in the civil war. Today, the airbase is known as a stronghold for Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militia groups and has previously been targeted by Israel, including in an attack on May 10 when IRGC-Quds forces launched 32 rockets at Israel’s forward defensive line on the Golan Heights.
On Wednesday, a senior Israeli Air Force official warned the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad that if its air defense systems fired on Israeli jets, they would be targeted in return. “All batteries that fire on Israeli aircraft will be destroyed. All batteries that do not fire on us will not be destroyed,” the senior officer told reporters.
The same day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel “will not let Iran establish military bases in Syria, and we will not let Iran develop nuclear weapons.” The Prime Minister was speaking during a visit to a conference of foreign air force officials at the Tel Nof airbase in central Israel.
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