Photo Credit: Fadi Shaheen / Wikimedia
Port of Latakia, northwestern Syria, June 2008

Fire raged at the Syrian Port of Latakia in the wee hours of Tuesday morning after air strikes targeted at least one container at the site.

Syrian state media reported that the port area was attacked by Israeli warplanes.

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“Israeli air aggression” targeted the vicinity of Latakia port, according to a report by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). “Our air defenses are confronting an Israeli aggression in the airspace of Latakia,” SANA reported.

The news outlet added that some of the “commercial containers” caught fire due to the attacks, but said “there were no casualties”

Smoke was seen billowing up from the port area of the city in videos uploaded to social media. Considerable damage was reported by local sources.

A Syrian military source was quoted by the Israel-based Yediot M’HaShetach as saying that around 01:23 am, “an Israeli attack began on commercial containers in the port of Latakia. As a result of the attack, a number of commercial containers were set on fire at the site. It was further reported from the Syrian source that no casualties were reported at this time.”

Military analysts suggested that Israeli air strikes were targeting an Iranian arms shipment. One source said the missiles struck a single container at the port.

This past August, an explosion and fire badly damaged a commercial ship at the port. The ship was reportedly used to carry Iranian oil to Syria.

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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.