Israel strikes Syrian army base in Aleppo

Syria confirms air strikes struck position near al-Nairab airbase in Aleppo as fighting rages in Quneitra province.

    Smoke rises on hills overlooking the southern Quneitra province, during shelling by Syrian forces against rebels [AFP]
    Smoke rises on hills overlooking the southern Quneitra province, during shelling by Syrian forces against rebels [AFP]

    Israeli missiles have targeted a Syrian military post in the Aleppo province late on Sunday, Syrian state media reported.

    The Syrian state-run Syrian News Agency (SANA) quoted a military source as saying: "the Zionist enemy has repeated its desperate attempts to support the defeated terrorist groups in Deraa and Quneitra and targeted one of our military posts with rockets north of the al-Nairab airport."

    The agency said the strike caused only material damage, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that nine "pro-regime fighters" were killed.

    The military base was being used by the Syrian government's chief ally, Iran, the monitoring group added.

    In the past, Israel had targeted dozens of sites inside Syria suspected of being Iranian positions.

    Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and backs a number of armed groups, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, fighting in support of Assad.

    Syrian government forces now control more than 84 percent of Deraa, forcing rebels to evacuate the area [AFP]

    Deraa evacuation

    The strike comes days after Syrian troops secured most of the southern province of Deraa.

    The Syrian government forces now control more than 84 percent of Deraa, the cradle of the 2011 uprising against al-Assad's rule.

    Activists told DPA news agency that there are still some 2,000 rebel fighters inside the rebel-controlled parts of Deraa city.

    On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families left Deraa to the rebel-held Idlib province in the north, the Observatory said.

    "Nine buses carrying 430 fighters and members of their families and two ambulances moved from Deraa, after they were searched, to Idlib," it said.

    Russian forces searched the vehicles, parked on a main thoroughfare connecting the city's government-held north with its rebel south, before they set off just after midday for Idlib.

    "My heart is aching and in pieces. May God recompense us. What more can I say?" said Huzayfa Halawa, a 28-year-old rebel evacuated on Sunday.

    In the past, thousands of opposition fighters from other parts in Syria were evacuated to Idlib under deals brokered by Russia.

    The seven-year conflict has killed at least 350,000 people and displaced millions.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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