Syria repels fresh missile attack on air bases

Beirut—Syrian anti-aircraft defences shot down missiles fired at the Syrian air base of Shayrat in Homs province late on Monday and another base northeast of the capital, Damascus, media reports here said.

Syrian state television showed pictures of missiles that were shot in the air above the air bases in the central province of Homs and the Dumair military airport in Damascus.

Fresh attack took place only days after a U.S., Britain and France launched missilestrikes on Damascus and Homs.

According to Syria’s official SANA news agency early on Tuesday, all the missiles were intercepted before they could reach their target in Homs.

“Syrian air defense shot down missiles that entered its airspace over Homs,” said the report.

Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen broadcaster also reported that Syrian air defenses had intercepted three missiles aimed at Dumair military airport north east of Damascus.

Opposition sources say Dumair airport is a major air base used in a large-scale military campaign waged by the Syrian army that regained eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus.

A Pentagon spokesman said there was no U.S. military activity in that area at this time.

Asked about the missile attack, an Israeli military spokesman said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”

Israel has struck Syrian army locations many times in the course of the conflict, hitting convoys and bases of Iranian-backed fighters who fight alongside Syrian army.

Israel has long said Iran was expanding its influence in a belt of territory that stretches from the Iraqi border to the Lebanese border, where Israel says Iran has build several bases.

Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces have a large military presence in Syria and are well entrenched in central and eastern areas near the Iraqi border.

Deputy Hezbollah leader Sheikh Naim Qassem told al Maydeen he expected a reaction to the death of at least seven Iranian military personnel during a missile strike earlier this month on the T-4 airfield near Homs, which Iran blamed on Israel

“We expect an Iranian response against Israel, but we do not know its nature, or details,” he said.

Iran has been offering the Syrian army with military advisory help in its counter-terrorism operations upon the Damascus government’s request.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi reacted to the attack, saying the regime could no longer “hit and run, and that the resistance forces in the region are able to respond to this crime at an appropriate time.”

“The occupying regime will sooner or later receive the necessary responses to its recent crime and aggression, and they will regret their misdeed,” he added.

Qassem also played down Israel’s hit-and-run raids against targets in Syria and said the nature of such attacks show it is not prepared for a all-out war.

“Israel is not ready for an all-out war, and therefore it is waging a campaign between the wars,” he said, adding, “The axis of resistance…will not allow [Israel] to restrict its movement in Syria.”

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