Syria says its air defenses intercept attack on airbase

International

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s air defenses confronted an aerial “aggression” from Israel that targeted an air base in the country’s center late Tuesday, state media reported quoting a military official.

The official quoted by the state news agency SANA said the attack targeted the T-4 air base in Homs province shortly after 10 p.m. local time. The official said the attack only caused material damage to the base, saying most rockets were intercepted while only four landed in the targeted area.

There was no immediate Israeli comment. Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syria over the past years but it rarely comments on what it targets.

Israel is widely believed to have been behind airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country’s war fighting alongside the government.

The attack on Tuesday comes during heightened tension after the recent escalation between the U.S. and Iran, Damascus’ main ally in the region. A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Iran’s top general earlier in January. Gen. Qassim Soleimani was the main architect of Iran’s policy in Syria, where thousands of allied fighters fought alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces in the country’s civil war.

Russia announced late last year that it had delivered the S-300 air defense system to Syria. Russia, too, is a key ally of Assad, and its intervention in the civil war, beginning in 2015, turned the tide in his favor.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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