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Israel Attacks Hezbollah Missiles in Mezzeh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke and flames are seen near Mezzah military airport, near Damascus, Syria, in this still image from video obtained by Reuters January 13, 2017. REUTERS/via ReutersTV

Beirut, Tel Aviv- The Syrian regime accused Israel of carrying out strikes on the Mezzeh military airport near Damascus at dawn Friday as Israeli unofficial sources said the attack targeted missiles on their way to Lebanon’s “Hezbollah.”

As usual, the Syrian regime accused Israel of standing behind the strikes.

“Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack,” Syria’s news agency SANA quoted military sources as saying.

The Syrian regime’s Foreign Ministry condemned the missile attack in two letters to the U.N. secretary general and the president of the U.N. Security Council, and called on the international community to “punish the Israeli aggressor.”

Although Israeli officials remained silent regarding the Syrian accusations, unofficial sources in Tel Aviv said the attack targeted “shipments of missiles that were prepared to be sent from Damascus to Lebanon for Hezbollah.”

The sources added the target included a large shipment of surface-to-surface missiles, Fateh-110, Fateh-111 ballistic missiles, and might have also included Zilzal missiles, all of them Iranian made with a range of 200-300 kilometers.

For its part, Italy’s Aki news agency reported on Friday that the Israeli attack hit radar buildings and artillery warehouses, in addition to a lounge owned by the brother of the head of the Syrian regime. Also, the attack partially destroyed dormitories used by airport workers.

In Lebanon’s capital Beirut, military expert retired general Khalil al-Helou told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Israel is not at all interested by the war in Syria. Israel is only concerned about obstructing the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and preventing the emergence of any cells in the occupied Golan” Heights.

Meanwhile, international investigators have said for the first time that they suspect Bashar Assad and his brother are responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The news agency quoted an informed source as saying the list identifies 15 people “to be scrutinized in relation to use of CW (chemical weapons) by Syrian Arab Republic Armed Forces in 2014 and 2015,” including Assad, his younger brother Maher and other high-ranking figures – indicating the decision to use toxic weapons came from the very top, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.