The target was apparently a warehouse at the airport that was housing advanced missiles from Iran that were on their way to Hezbollah. It may have been a follow-up raid to finish the job begun by the Israeli air force on Friday, or it may have been an entirely new target.
As was the case with the attack on Friday, Israeli jets overflew Lebanese air space but did not cross into Syria.
There is another unconfirmed report that several buildings housing Syrian military leadership belonging to the army’s crack 4th armored division that is commanded by President Assad’s younger brother Maher was also hit.
On Sunday, the Syrian government said that the Israelis had launched a missile attack against the military complex at Jamraya just outside Damascus overnight.
Large blasts sent towering plumes of flame and smoke into the night sky above Qasioun Mountain, which towers over downtown Damascus, according to residents and videos posted by opposition activists. The videos showed multiple explosions over a period of several minutes, suggesting that more than one target may have been hit.
The mountain is home to an array of Syrian military facilities, including military research centers, and is the source of much of the government shelling of rebel positions in the suburbs. Residents and activists said the explosions struck the mountain headquarters of the army’s Fourth Division, the elite and feared unit run by the president’s brother Maher, as well as al-Hamah, where the command of the Republican Guard, one of the government’s elite forces, is located.
Ikhbariya television, a state-owned channel, asserted that Israeli had carried out the strikes. “The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been tottering after facing strikes by our noble army,” the station said.The government has long said that the uprising against it was fueled by foreign-backed “terrorists” and served Israeli and American interests.
Israeli officials had no comment on the explosions. Nor did American officials, who signaled that the United States did not carry out the attack.
“They are definitely going after military facilities on or around Qasioun,” said Andrew J. Tabler, an expert on Syria as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “There are a lot of research and military facilities there that are tied into the command and control structure of the regime.”
“It is unprecedented and something all of Damascus can see,” he added, stressing that it would likely have an important political impact in Syria.
A YouTube video posted by opposition forces shows how massive the explosions were:
With Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s statement this past week that the terrorist group would not allow Assad to be overthrown, Israel’s attacks against Iranian weaponry becomes more of an urgent matter. Intervention by the west is just another chemical attack away — an intervention that will no doubt prove decisive in overthrowing the regime. Hezbollah is already more powerful, with more and better missiles, than they had at the start of the 2006 war.
Preventing the terrorists from adding more long range missiles and other advanced weaponry to their arsenal is something Israel sees as vital to their security and will seek to prevent at all costs.