Syria accuses Israel of airstrikes on air base in Homs


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Syrian government accused Israel of attacking the T-4 airbase in Homs in Western Syria.

The official Syrian news agency, SANA, reported that Syria’s air defense system on Sunday evening downed several missiles which targeted the T-4 air base. SANA also reported that the military hit one of the attacking planes, which forced all of the planes to leave Syrian airspace.

Israel, as is its usual practice, neither confirmed nor denied the airstrikes in response to queries from international and local media.

The T-4 air base has been reported to be the site for deployment of Iranian drones, such as the one Israel shot down in February, which was loaded with explosives and believed to be on an attack mission.

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Israel was accused of an attack on the same air base in early April. Though Israel would neither confirm nor deny that attack, an unnamed senior Israeli military official confirmed to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that Israel carried out the attack. Russia, Iran and Syria were quick to accuse Israel of the attack as well.

Israel reportedly has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syria’s army and its allies since 2011.

The attack on Sunday comes amid a major offensive by President Bashar Assad’s army to recapture areas in the Daraa area that have been under the control of Sunni rebels, as part of the country’s seven-year civil war. More than 120,000 people are believed to have fled their homes for the borders with Jordan and Israel during the offensive.