Israeli warplanes fired quite a lot of missiles on the port of the coastal metropolis of Latakia early Tuesday morning, inflicting massive explosions and fires, within the second alleged Israeli strike in a month on the important thing facility.
For years, Israel prevented conducting strikes in opposition to the Latakia port because of the massive presence of Russian forces close by, regardless of Iran allegedly utilizing the terminal to move superior munitions by it to its proxies within the area, notably the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group.
SANA, Syria’s state media, quoted an unnamed army official as saying that a number of missiles struck the container space within the port, setting a few of them on fireplace. He stated the strikes triggered “massive material damage.”
The Israel Defense Forces didn’t touch upon the Syrian claims, as a matter of coverage.
Videos posted to social media confirmed big explosions and fires raging throughout the port, a few of them apparently brought on by secondary blasts from the missiles inflicting Iranian munitions to detonate.
According to SANA, the missiles got here from the path of the Mediterranean.
The Syrian army official stated efforts had been nonetheless underway to place out fires and assess the harm. There had been no instant reviews of casualties within the assault, which activated Syrian air defenses, in accordance with SANA.
Syria’s state-run al-Ikhbariyah TV ran footage exhibiting flames and smoke rising from the terminal. It reported harm to close by residential buildings, a hospital, outlets and a few vacationer websites close to the port.
An al-Ikhbariyah TV reporter within the space stated the assault appeared to have been bigger than the strike earlier this month and the explosions may very well be heard in Tartus, one other coastal metropolis greater than 80 kilometers (practically 50 miles) away.
Until earlier this month, strikes on the port of Latakia had been extremely irregular. The port is a crucial facility the place a lot of Syria’s imports are introduced into the war-torn nation and thru which Iran reportedly brings in weapons and different gear to its militias.
Though Israel has repeatedly performed raids in opposition to Iranian-linked targets in Syria, it hardly ever strikes near Latakia, not to mention contained in the terminal, because the Russian army maintains a base of operations close by. Due to its delicate relationship with Moscow, Israel usually refrains from finishing up assaults in opposition to targets if there are Russian troops close by, although Israel believes that this well-known coverage has led Iran to hunt to guard its arms transfers by conducting them close to Russian-controlled areas.
Before this month, the earlier time that Israel reportedly performed a strike on a goal within the metropolis of Latakia — although not within the port — was in 2018, throughout which a Russian spy airplane was unintentionally shot down by Syrian air defenses, inflicting a significant confrontation between Jerusalem and Moscow. Israel has additionally reportedly carried out raids in opposition to targets within the port metropolis in 2014 and twice in 2013.
Israel has staged a whole lot of strikes on targets inside government-controlled Syria over time however hardly ever acknowledges or discusses such operations. Many of the strikes up to now had focused the principle airport within the capital Damascus, by which Iran can also be believed to switch superior arms to its proxies.
Israel has acknowledged, nevertheless, that it targets the bases of Iranian forces and Iran-allied terror teams, significantly alongside the Golan border, equivalent to Lebanon’s Hezbollah that has fighters deployed in southern Syria. It says it additionally assaults arms shipments believed to be certain for the teams.
Hezbollah is preventing on the facet of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces within the decade-old civil conflict.
Hours after Syrian media accused Israel of placing the port metropolis of Latakia earlier this month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett alluded to the incident, saying that the army was always preventing “bad forces” within the Middle East.
“We’re pushing back on the bad forces of this region day and night,” he stated in English. “We won’t stop for one second. This happens almost daily.”
“In the face of destructive forces we will continue to act, we will be persistent, and we will not tire,” Bennett pledged.