Israel hits Syrian missiles again as explosions rock Damascus
Pretty impresive video footage below from the Syrian opposition that shows huge explosions on Qasioun Mountain just outside of Damascus. Apparently, there is some kind of military base that could contain a storage facility for the sophisticated missiles Israel has been targeting.
Reuters reports that bombs may have targeted a building housing military command and control:
Israel declined comment but Syria accused the Jewish state of striking a military facility just north of the capital - one which its jets had first targeted three months ago. Iran, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an arch-enemy for Israel, urged states in the region to resist the Israeli attack.
People living near the Jamraya base spoke of explosions over several hours in various places near Damascus, including a town housing senior officials: "Night turned into day," one man said.
The Western intelligence source told Reuters the operation hit Iranian-supplied missiles headed for Lebanon's Hezbollah, a similar target to the two previous strikes this year, which have been defended as justifiable by Israel's ally the United States:
"In last night's attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah," the intelligence source said.
An Israeli official had confirmed a similar raid on Friday. In Lebanon, Hezbollah declined immediate comment.
Video footage uploaded onto the Internet by activists showed a series of explosions. One lit up the skyline of Damascus while another sent up a tower of flames and secondary blasts.
Syrian state media accused Israel of attacking in response to Assad's forces' recent successes against rebels who, with Western approval, have been trying to topple him for two years.
In 40 years since a war with a Syria then ruled by Assad's father, Israel has been locked in a cold standoff with Damascus, fought Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and is threatening to attack Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
But it is wary of instability in Syria, has long viewed Hezbollah as the more immediate threat and has shown little enthusiasm for U.S. and European calls for Assad's overthrow.
Israel has no illusions about who the opposition to Assad really is and would prefer to see the brutal dictator remain in power rather than have to deal with a fractured, radicalized Syria. But in truth, the longer the civil war rages, the more Hezb'allah will get involved and claim even more sophisticated weapons from a weakening Assad's arsenal.
Hezb'allah may have guaranteed the survival of the Assad regime, but it hardly matters if the west were to become engaged. No one on either side has even mentioned negotiations in months - the enmity is now total between them. Assad won't leave and the rebels won't negotiate unless Assad is gone. It really is that simple and unless lightening strikes and Assad loyalsts finally abandon him - or kill him - the chances are pretty good that Hezb'allah will continue to try and acquire advanced weapons from Assad and Israel will seek to prevent it.