Syria warned by Israel as rebels strike in Damascus
AP/AFP, Mar 19 2017
JAYLOOMIA – Israel says several anti-aircraft missiles were fired at its warplanes on Friday after they carried out strikes targeting weapons bound for Hizbollah. Israel may have been led to acknowledge Friday’s raid by the circumstances of the incident. Netanyahu admitted for the first time in Apr 2016 that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys in Syria transporting weapons destined for Hizbollah. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Sunday:
The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes, we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation. Each time we discover arms transfers from Syria to Lebanon, we will act to stop them. On this there will be no compromise. The Syrians must understand that they are held responsible for these arms transfers to Hizbollah, and that if they continue to allow them then we will do what we have to do.
The rebels managed to stage a surprise attack in the capital on Sunday. Fierce clashes broke out in the Syrian capital after insurgents infiltrated government-held parts of the eastern side of the city through tunnels overnight, state media said. The clashes centered around the Abassin neighbourhood, an area sandwiched between the besieged, opposition-held Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. Steady shelling and sniper fire could be heard across Damascus as rebel factions allied with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham launched an attack on regime positions. Residents said artillery shells and rockets were landing inside the heart of the city, and an activist-run Facebook group, Damascus Today, reported government air raids over the area of the clashes. Reinforcements arrived on the government side to repel the attack in the afternoon, the group said.