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Syria Says Israel Carried Out Air Raids Near Damascus

  • RFE/RL

Syria has accused Israel of carrying out air strikes against two government-held areas near Damascus.

Syria’s army said in a statement read out on state television on December 7 that Israeli planes bombed the area near Damascus international airport and the town of Dimas.

It described the strikes as "direct aggression" carried out to help rebels seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster, saying they proved "Israel's direct support for terrorism in Syria."

It said the strikes damaged some installations, but that nobody was hurt.

Later, Syria's Foreign Ministry said it had asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel, describing the air strikes as "a heinous crime against Syria's sovereignty," according to state news agency SANA.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said one of the sites targeted, Dimas, was a military position.

The group also said a warehouse near Damascus airport, where both civilian and military aircraft operate, had been hit.

Israel has reportedly launched several strikes against Syrian military positions since the outbreak of the country's armed uprising in 2011.

Before December 7, the most recent air raid was in March.

Most of the strikes appear to have targeted sophisticated weapons systems believed to be destined for the Shi’ite militant group Hizballah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military has also bombed Syrian military sites in retaliation for attacks on the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel seized the region from Syria during the 1967 Middle East War and annexed the area in 1981, in a move not recognized internationally.

The two countries remain technically in a state of war, and UN observers are deployed to monitor a 70-kilometer-long demilitarized zone.

Elsewhere on December 7, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian troops repelled an attack by Islamic State militants on a military airport in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

It added that both sides suffered heavy losses in the fighting.

With reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and BBC
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