Israeli air strike targets Syrian port of Latakia near Russian air base

Israel-launches-airstrike-LATAKIA-PORT
An Israeli air strike hit the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, which is operated by Iranian companies. it is the second such attack on the key facility this month, according to Syrian state media
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An Israeli air strike hit the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, which is operated by Iranian companies. it is the second such attack on the key facility this month, according to Syrian state media

 An Israeli air strike hit the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, the second such attack on the key facility this month, according to Syrian state media. 

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out air strikes on its strife-torn neighbour, mostly targeting Syrian government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters. 

“At around 03:21 AM, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression with several missiles from the direction of the Mediterranean… targeting the container yard in Latakia port,” Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying. 

The strike caused “significant material damage” and led to fires, it added.

On December 7, Israel carried out strikes on an Iranian arms shipment at Latakia, located in President Bashar al-Assad’s western Syrian heartland, without causing any casualties.

Khmeimim Air Base  , also  known as Hmeimim Air Base, is a Syrian airbase currently operated by Russia, located south-east of the city of Latakia in HmeimimLatakia GovernorateSyria. The airbase shares some airfield facilities with Bassel Al-Assad International Airport. The legal status of the base is regulated by a treaty Russia and Syria signed in August 2015. At the end of 2017, Russia said it had decided to turn the Khmeimim base into a component of its permanent military contingent stationed in Syria. Air defenses were disrupted during the Israeli strike and no S-400 missiles, which are located at the Russian-operated Khmeimim Air Base some 20 kilometers from Latakia, were fired.

That earlier attack, which was the first on the facility since the start of the war, triggered a series of explosions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor with a wide network of sources in Syria.

In November, three soldiers and two Syrian fighters affiliated with Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah were killed in Israeli strikes, according to the observatory.

While the Jewish state rarely comments on individual strikes it carries out on its northern neighbour — with which it remains officially at war — it has confirmed hundreds since 2011. 

According to a report by the Israeli army, it hit around 50 targets in Syria in 2020.

In the deadliest operation since the strikes began, Israel killed 57 regime force members and allied fighters in eastern Syria overnight on January 13, 2021.

The Israeli military has repeatedly defended the operations as a bid to prevent its archfoe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

Israel’s head of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Haliva, has accused Iran of “continuing to promote subversion and terror” in the Middle East.

In a shadow war, Israel has targeted Iran’s military sites in Syria and also carried out a sabotage campaign inside Iran against its nuclear programme.

Tehran has been a key supporter of the Syrian government in the decade-old conflict.

It finances, arms and commands a number of Syrian and foreign militia groups fighting alongside the regular armed forces, chief among them Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group.

The conflict in Syria has killed nearly 500,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful demonstrations.

AFP/ FRANCE 24

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