For the second time in as many days, Israel mounted a late night air raid on Syrian military facilities that were allegedly holding weapons destined for Hezbollah. This attack produced some of the biggest explosions seen in Damascus since the two year old conflict began.
Explosions could be heard late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning as bombs rained down on the Jamraya research centre in Syria's capital city. An Israeli intelligence official took credit for the attack when speaking with the AFP, and western intelligence officials pointed to Israel when speaking with Reuters, too. According to Haaretz's Barak Ravid, the target of Saturday's attack was a "shipment of Iranian made Fatah-110 missiles" being delivered to Hezbollah through Syria. Israel's first attack of the weekend was directed towards similar missiles heading for Hezbollah. Considering Israel was targeting a shipment of powerful missiles, maybe it isn't surprising that the videos that supposedly show the explosions are this crazy:
Residents described the attack as feeling like a "mild earthquake," according to the BBC, and journalist Alaa Ebrahim told them this was "the biggest explosion" he's seen since the conflict began. Now, after two days of attacks, the rhetoric between Syria, Israel, Iran and Hezbollah is escalating and things are getting feisty.
An Iranian army commander told Iranian state television there was "no need for intervention by other countries," but promised to train the Syrian army if asked. Syria wrote a letter to the U.N. and to the U.N. Security Council accusing Israel of giving "direct military support to terrorist groups," fighting Bashar al-Assad's government and causing "widespread destruction." (Syria considers the opposition forces to be terrorist groups attacking their country.) Syria also hinted at retaliation, saying Israel's attacks "opens the door wide to all possibilities," their Information Minister said on state television. Meanwhile, Israel is downplaying the targeting of Syrian military bases and stressing that their target was weapons shipments to Hezbollah.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.