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Syria says Israeli missiles hit area near Damascus airport

Missiles hit Damascus early Tuesday morning [File photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 26 June, 2018

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The number of reported Israeli strikes on Syrian territory have increased in recent weeks, as tensions between Israel and Iran ramp up.

Two Israeli missiles struck an area near the Damascus International Airport before dawn on Tuesday, Syrian state TV said. 

It was the latest strike on Syrian territory blamed on Israel. Such strikes have increased in frequency amid soaring tension between Israel and Iran, a key backer of the Syrian regime.

Israel has increasingly warned that it sees Iranian influence in Syria as a threat and has in recent weeks targeted suspected Iranian positions in Syria.

In May, Israel struck about 50 Iranian targets inside Syria in response to a salvo of rockets allegedly fired by Iranian forces into the Golan Heights. The attack left at least 27 pro-regime fighters, including 11 Iranians, dead. 

Israel has also carried out dozens of operations targeting arms deliveries that it says are aimed against its arch-rival the Lebanese Hizballah, which also backs the Syrian regime. 

Tuesday's missile strikes come a week into a regime offensive in rebel-held territories in the southwestern part of the country, which borders Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Jordan. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the strikes, saying Israeli jets flew over the Golan Heights and targeted suspected weapons depots for Iranian-backed militias near the Damascus airport. There were no reports of casualties.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely responds to questions about military operations.

For a week, Syrian troops have targeted rebel-held areas in the southern Daraa province. On Tuesday, the pro-government Central Military Media said Syrian troops have gained control of al-Lujat, a rocky area in northeastern Daraa.

The US has said the regime offensive risked broadening the conflict and called on Russia, the regime's other ally, to end what it called violations to a truce in the region.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces broke the nearly year-old truce as the regime turned its attention southwest after a string of military victories in Damascus. 

SANA linked the reported Israeli attack to the regime's ongoing offensive in the southwest. It said the strike comes amid "major losses" for rebel groups in Syria. 

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