Photo Credit: SANA / screen capture
Missile intercepted by Syrian aerial defense at Damascus International Airport

Israeli warplanes attacked Damascus International Airport late Saturday night, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Syrian government anti-aircraft defense systems were activated, with a number of anti-aircraft missiles launched in response to the attack, according to SANA.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said Israel does not comment on foreign reports.

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“Our air defenses responded to an Israeli missile attack on Damascus International Airport and shot down a number of hostile missiles,” said a Syrian Arab Army source quoted by SANA. A statement by the Syrian Arab Army posted to Facebook stated, “We have reports of a large flaming mass being seen after it was shot down, but we cannot yet confirm whether a jet was shot down or not. The above video was taken of a live interception to one of the incoming targets and was provided by a visitor to the Damascus International Fair which is currently [being] held.”

According to international military analyst Eva J. Koulouriotis, there were two separate raids by the Israel Air Force on two Iranian sites near the airport.

“Preliminary information indicates that one of the sites targeted by Israeli warplanes is a warehouse of Iranian weapons that were transferred to Syria a few days ago…,” Koulouriotis wrote at the start of a series of tweets. “Information confirms that the second target is a military cargo plane belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards inside Damascus International Airport which landed hours ago… A source confirmed that the shipment of sophisticated weapons targeted was intended to be transferred and handed over to the Hezbollah Lebanese terrorist militia inside Lebanon,” she tweeted.

Local sources reported the strike was aimed at Iranian military targets near the airport, and said at least four explosions were heard, adding there appeared to be an attack on an underground compound near the airport.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.