February 2, 2023

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Israeli raids kill Syrian soldiers and close Damascus airport | News

Two soldiers were killed in an Israeli raid that put Damascus International Airport out of service for the second time in less than a year.

The Syrian military said that Israeli missiles killed at least two Syrian soldiers and put the country’s main international airport out of service.

The army said in a statement quoted by the official that the barrage of missiles fired from the air came from the direction of Lake Kinneret in Israel at around 2 a.m. local time on Monday (23:00 GMT Sunday) and targeted Damascus International Airport and its surroundings. SANA news agency.

The statement said that the attacks resulted in “the death of two soldiers, the wounding of two others, and some material losses,” and the airport was taken out of service.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that Israeli strikes hit the airport as well as a weapons depot near the facility south of Damascus. It added that at least four people were killed in the attack.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

This incident is the second time that Damascus International Airport has been out of service in less than a year.

On 10 June, Israeli airstrikes targeting the airport caused severe damage to the infrastructure and runways.

It reopened two weeks later after repairs.

Israel has also bombed other Syrian airports, including a strike in September on the international airport in the city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and former commercial hub, which also knocked it out of service for several days.

Israel has carried out hundreds of raids on targets inside government-controlled areas of Syria in recent years, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. However, Israel has said it is targeting the bases of armed groups allied with Iran, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Rami Khoury, a senior fellow in the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, said that the latest Israeli attack could be an attempt by the new government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu to tell the Iranians, the Syrians and the Russians that Israel will maintain this. The policy of striking any target that it believes poses a threat to its security.

Netanyahu, who won the November elections, was sworn in as Israel’s prime minister for his sixth term on December 29.

“The important thing here to remember is that the United States government, through Congress, passed laws years ago that ensured that Israel would be militarily superior to any group of enemies or foes around it. Israel has immunity to launch attacks anywhere it wants in the region,” Khoury said. And no one could stop her.

“The Israelis and the Russians, who are close allies of Syria and fought in Syria to keep the Assad regime in power, have an understanding that Israel can attack certain sites in Syria, but they should not hinder Russian military activities there,” he said, adding that this means that such The raids will likely continue in the future.

Monday’s attack comes days after the IDF chief, Major General Oded Basiuk, presented the army’s operational forecast for 2023.

“We see our course of action in Syria as an example of how ongoing and continuous military action is shaping and influencing the entire region,” said Basiuk’s presentation, according to the IDF’s tweets.

“We will not accept Hezbollah 2.0 in Syria,” she said.

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