Israel Strikes Damascus Airport in first strike in 2019

  • Posted on: 13 January 2019
an air-strike in Syria Credit: Hassan Ammar/AP

On Friday, Jan 11th, 2019, Israeli warplanes launched multiple missiles towards Damascus. According to a Syrian military source, the attack took place at 11:15 PM (2115 GMT) when Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus. The source claimed most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense system and that the airstrike caused damage but no casualties. said a “ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus International Airport” was hit. Another official said that the traffic at the airport had not been disrupted by the attacks.

Syrian state media broadcast footage of what it said was the air defenses firing, with bright lights seen shooting across the night sky. Explosions were heard in one of the videos.

This was the second Israeli airstrike in less than 3 weeks since Israel bombed Damascus airport on the 26th of December 2018 which wounded three Syrian soldiers. Russia heavily condemned the December attack saying that Israeli strikes in Syria endangered two civilian flights, one landing in Damascus and one landing in Beirut. The statement also said that the Syrian military didn’t fully deploy its defense systems as this could risk the safety of the flights.

Russia provided the Syrian regime with 24 advanced S-300 launchers for free in October after a Russian military plane was mistakenly shot in September by the Syrian forces who were responding to an Israeli strike over Syrian airspace. Russia held Israel accountable for the deaths of 15 Russian crew members. The Russian defense ministry later declared Israel was responsible, saying the IAF jets used the Russian plane as cover.

Although the security situation in Syria has been relatively calm compared to the security situation in 2018. Tensions have been intensifying in northeastern Syria where Turkey mobilized its military forces and planning an offensive against Kurdish militias who are supported by the US. There has been growing fear amongst Kurds of a Turkish offensive especially after US president Donald Trump decided to pull US forces out of Syria, by this means leaving Kurdish militias in the northeast vulnerable to a Turkish offensive. However, American officials attempted to condition a U.S. troop pullout by guaranteeing the safety for their Kurdish partners and Turkish non-aggression. Turkish foreign minister smacked down this decision and said Turkey will go ahead with its planned offensive against Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria whether or not the U.S. withdraws its troops from the country.

Fear of a Turkish assault has prompted the Kurds to increase their engagement with the Assad regime, who they see as potentially providing them protection from the Turks. Security experts also fear that a Turkish offensive would distract the Kurds from their continued battle against ISIS.

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