Russia’s defense ministry says it lost contact with plane in Syria
September 18, 2018
| Middle East
BEIRUT: Missiles were fired at several locations in the Syrian coastal province of Latakia on Monday but were intercepted and downed by air defenses, Syrian state media said.
Explosions continued for nearly a half hour, said Al-Ikhbariya TV, which aired footage showing streaks of white light flashing across the sky.
An unidentified military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles heading for the provincial capital of Latakia from the sea.
The official SANA news agency also said state technical industry institutions had been targeted and at 10 people were injured. It added that it was not immediately known who fired the missiles.
“Air defenses have confronted enemy missiles coming from the sea in the direction of the Latakia city, and intercepted a number of them,” SANA quoted a military source as saying.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which initially reported the explosions, also reported 10 wounded, saying all of them were soldiers and some were in critical condition.
The war monitoring group said the target appeared to be an ammunition depot that in the compound of the state Institute for Technical Industries. The group it was not clear if the depot was for Iranian or Syrian forces.
The strikes followed a similar attack on Damascus International Airport late Saturday, which Syrian state media also blamed on Israel. A military official quoted then on state media said Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles coming from the sea.
Other attacks were reported on Sept. 4 that targeted sites in the coastal Tartus area and in Hama province. The Observatory said at the time that the Sept. 4 attacks were believed aimed at Iranian military posts.
Israel is widely believed to have been behind a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country’s war fighting alongside the government. Israel rarely acknowledges attacks inside Syria, but has said it will use military action to prevent weapons transfers to its enemies. Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the Jewish state has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.
US and Israeli officials have said that Iran and Hezbollah should end their armed presence in Syria. Israel says it will not tolerate Iran’s growing presence in Syria.
Monday’s attack came hours after Russia and Turkey announced an agreement that effectively prevents a Syrian government offensive against Idlib, a rebel-held area in northwestern Syria.
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