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  • Israeli warplanes bombed the Mezza military airport close to the Syrian capital of Damascus.

    Israeli warplanes bombed the Mezza military airport close to the Syrian capital of Damascus. | Photo: Twitter / Hadi Albahra

Published 12 January 2017

The major strategic air base used by Syrian Republican Guards had been used to fire rockets at former rebel-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus.

Israeli warplanes bombed the Mezza military airport close to the Syrian capital of Damascus Thursday, targeting an ammunitions hub and causing a major explosion, according to Syrian state TV.

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The airport, which is to the southwest of the capital, is a major strategic air base used by Syrian Republican Guards and had been a base used to fire rockets at former rebel-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus.

State television has not provided any further details of the attack and no deaths have been reported. However, it is not the first time Israel has targeted Syrian government positions since the conflict broke out in 2011.

Though Tel Aviv claims to be "neutral" in the conflict, its first direct intervention is believed to have occurred in January 2013 on a pro-government convoy in Rif Dimashq, which was followed up by a series of airstrikes in May of the same year on Damascus International Airport as well as the Rif Dimashq countryside.

Since then, the Israeli military has conducted airstrikes on various Syrian military and pro-government targets in Latakia and the Syrian-controlled area of the Golan Heights. The Syrian government also accuse Tel Aviv of funneling arms and munitions to opposition forces.

Israeli officials have expressed concern that Hezbollah's experience in the Syrian war, where it has played a significant role and recently helped the Syrian Army regain the eastern sector of the city of Aleppo, has strengthened it and could pose a "security" risk to Tel Aviv's expansionist ambitions.

Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber killed seven people and left many more wounded in Damascus' Kafr Sousa neighborhood, reportedly by al-Qaida.

"Only in Damascus can you find yourself attacked by Al-Qaeda and Israel one hour apart," wrote Al-Masdar News' Leith Abou Fadel on Writter.

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