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20 Jan, 2019 14:25

Syria repels IDF air raid on intl airport south of Damascus, shot down 7 missiles – Moscow

Syria repels IDF air raid on intl airport south of Damascus, shot down 7 missiles – Moscow

Syrian air defenses repelled an Israeli air raid into its territory, successfully intercepting seven missiles fired by incoming F-16 fighter jets, the Russian military said. No damage or casualties on the ground were reported.

The attack occurred at 1:32pm local time on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Four F-16 Israeli fighter jets were flying above the Mediterranean Sea as they launched guided missiles into Syria, targeting the “international airport, southeast of Damascus,” the military officials explained.

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Syria’s Pantsir and Buk air defense missile systems were used to shoot down Israeli rockets and knocked out seven of them. The military added that there was no damage done to the airport and no casualties on the ground.

A Syrian military source earlier told state media that the army “thwarted” an Israeli “air aggression” against the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the airport attack, saying that it was part of the country’s “permanent policy… to oppose Iran’s attempts to gain a foothold in Syria and to hurt those [who are] trying to hurt us.”

The Israeli Army said on the same day that they had intercepted a rocket launched at the northern Golan Heights, without specifying where the rocket came from. In recent years, Israel has conducted multiple air raids on Syrian territory, striking alleged Iranian-linked targets. Not all attacks reported by Syria were subsequently confirmed by the IDF. Officials in Tel Aviv have accused Iran of using its ‘proxies’ on the ground in Syria to undermine Israeli security.

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Damascus has repeatedly denounced Israeli airstrikes, stressing that they constitute a rampant violation of its state sovereignty. Russia has joined Syria in condemning Israeli operations. Officials blasted the IDF raids as reckless acts that endanger civilian flights in the area.

Last year, Damascus received a batch of Russian S-300 air defense systems, which was supplied by Moscow in response to the downing of the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane in Syria on September 17. The aircraft, with 15 servicemen on board, was mistakenly targeted by Syrian air defense units.

Russia said the tragedy occurred because an Israeli F-16 jet used it as cover during yet another raid on Syrian targets. Israel, however, denied any wrongdoing and attempted to shift the blame to Syria and its ally, Iran. Moscow still insisted that actions of Israeli pilots led to the tragedy.

Moscow and Damascus had a longstanding S-300 contract, but the supply of the system had been frozen for years due to concerns by the Israeli side.

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