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Syrian air defence intercepts Israeli attack on Homs base

Israel has launched several air attacks on Syria in recent years [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 January, 2020

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The T4 or Tiyas Military Airbase has been struck by Israel on several occasions in recent years.

Israel carried out an aerial attack that damaged a military airport in central Syria, according to a military source quoted by Syria's state news agency.

Israel "led a new attack against T4 airport... air defences immediately activated against the enemy missiles, destroying several of them" a military source told SANA, adding that damage was nonetheless caused to the facility. 

"Four missiles hit the target zone," causing damage but no human casualties, the report said.

The attack in Homs province north of the capital Damascus, happened at around 10:00 pm (2000 GMT), the source said.

In an earlier report, SANA had said Syrian air defences were activated to confront the "aggression," without specifying who was to blame.

An Israeli army spokeswoman gave no comment on the claim when contacted by AFP.

The T4 or Tiyas Military Airbase has been struck by Israel on several occasions in recent years. 

In April 2018, seven Iranian military advisers and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members were killed in an attack targeting pro-government forces.

Russian forces, as well as fighters from the Tehran-backed Lebanese Hizballah militia, are also known to have a presence at the air base in Homs province, according to head of the Syrian Observatory for Human rights Rami Abdel Rahman. 

Although it is not known who was responsible for the bombing, Israel is thought to be behind hundreds of strikes on Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and militia positions in Syria.

Read also: Iran controls the ground, Israel dominates the skies in Syria

The US also launched a wave of strikes on Iranian-linked fighters in Syria and Iraq last month.

Tensions are running following the US assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, a killing that threatened war between the two countries and would likely have spilled out into Syria.

Iran has been a key supporter of Bashar Al-Assad in the war and poured in thousands of Shia fighters to back the regime with militia units under the command of Soleimani.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria. 

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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