Syria’s state media has denied reports that an airstrike on an airbase outside the capital of Damascus was carried out by Israel.
Saying the explosions were caused by an electrical problem at an munitions dump, news agency SANA reported a military official as saying: “No Israeli aggression on Mazzeh airport and the explosions heard in Damascus are explosions of ammunitions warehouses near the airport caused by short circuit.”
The blasts in the early hours of Sunday shook buildings in Damascus, with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV station, which is close to the Syrian government, reporting that the blasts came from the direction of the Mezzeh military airport, south west of the capital. Locals reported on social media seeing fires and hearing explosions from that direction.
Syria’s government has accused Israel of carrying out a number of strikes on the Mezzeh airport in the past, but Israel rarely admits to strikes inside Syria and has said it will use military action to prevent weapons transfers to its enemies inside Syria.
That though didn’t prevent accusations being made against Israel in the immediate aftermath, with an official in the regional alliance backing Damascus, telling Reuters that the explosions were caused by Israeli missile fire from the Golan Heights, resulting in Syrian air defenses responding.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had also said the airbase was struck by a “possible Israeli missile, which hit a munitions store setting off successive explosions”, adding that it caused deaths and injuries. The airbase has been targeted in recent year by a number of airstrikes blamed on Israel.