The Telegraph: Israel’s air force launched two raids inside Syria including the area of Damascus airport, the Assad regime claimed on Sunday.
“The Israeli enemy attacked Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the area of Damascus International Airport,” state television announced.
There was no confirmation from Israel.
It has carried out strikes inside Syria before since the start of the civil war in 2011, but the targets have always thought to have been convoys feared to be ferrying heavy weapons to Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia that regards itself as Israel’s most formidable enemy.
Residents in and around Damascus reported hearing jets flying overhead and strikes. Lebanon also claimed Israeli jets had flown over its territory, as they have done during previous attacks.
Dimas hosts a smaller, military-run airport which may have been the second target.
Israel has regarded the war in Syria with growing alarm. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has presented himself as a leader of the “resistance” to Israel, and allowed both Hizbollah and Islamist Palestinian group Hamas to be based in Damascus before the war.
On the other hand, Mr Assad has also kept the border quiet. Now a variety of rebel groups control the zone of Syria that abuts the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, including Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
They have made no attempt to attack Israel, leading to regime claims that Israel is supporting the rebels.
United Nations observers monitoring the buffer zone between the two on the Golan are said to have witnessed cooperation between rebels and the Israeli Defence Forces, Haaretz, the liberal Israeli newspaper, reported on Sunday.
In June this year, they spotted Israeli soldiers handing two boxes directly to armed rebels, they said.
Some Lebanese analysts have speculated that Israel is trying to ensure that the “right sort” of rebel controls the border area, preferring even a militant Sunni-controlled strip to one that falls into the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).