By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Syria on Thursday accused Israel of attacking the country with missiles but said its air defenses had confronted the “Israeli aggression.”
The Syrian military said, “the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression this evening with bursts of missiles from the direction of southeast Beirut” in Lebanon. They were “targeting some points in the vicinity of the city of Damascus and the vicinity of the city of Homs,” the military added.
However, Syrian air defenses confronted the “Israeli aggression” in the Damascus countryside on Thursday, Syrian state-owned Ekhbariya TV and state news agency SANA said.
Footage obtained by Worthy News showed smoke at one of reportedly three sites that Israel hit. The Israeli military declined to comment on the reported strikes in Syria.
Witnesses said the sound of aircraft could be heard in and around Beirut, the Lebanese capital.
Lebanon’s defense minister Zeina Akar condemned the attack, saying that it “blatantly violated Lebanon’s airspace at low altitude, causing a state of panic among citizens.”
She said the attack violated U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 to resolve the 2006 Lebanon war. She called on the U.N. to deter Israel from carrying out airstrikes on Syria using Lebanese airspace. Akar said she had sent a complaint to the United Nations.
The Syrian statement said its air defenses “confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down most of them, and the results of the aggression are now being audited.”
During the airstrike, a plane of Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines coming from Abu Dhabi had to hold in Syrian airspace for about 10 minutes before landing in Beirut, Reuters news agency reported. Another plane from Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines also had to wait, said Fadi Alhassan, acting general manager for Lebanon’s civil aviation authority.
It comes amid mounting tensions in the region, with Israel expressing concerns about Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Lebanon.
Israel has had several strikes against Iran-linked military targets in war-ravaged Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
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