Syria's war: Damascus airbase blasts 'caused by electrical fault'

Syria and Iran say explosions were caused by short-circuit, denying Israeli strikes were behind the blasts.

    Syrian state media denied that the blasts were caused by Israeli air raids [File: Hassan Ammar/AP]
    Syrian state media denied that the blasts were caused by Israeli air raids [File: Hassan Ammar/AP]

    A series of loud explosions from an airbase outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, was caused by an electrical fault, state media said, denying reports Israeli raids were behind the blasts.

    The explosions, which occurred early on Sunday at the al-Mezzeh airbase on Damascus' western outskirts, were heard across the city and were initially thought to be the result of an Israeli attack.

    However, the Syrian state news agency SANA cited an unnamed military source who said there was no "Israeli aggression".

    "The explosions heard in Damascus were due to the explosion of an ammunition depot near the airport, which was caused by a short-circuit," SANA reported.

    The claim was repeated by an unnamed Iranian military official based in Syria, who was cited by Iran's state news agency IRNA as saying that the blast was caused by "an electrical short-circuit in an ammunition depot".

    According to SANA, there were no casualties at the scene. 

    There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities. 

    AFP news agency's correspondents in Damascus heard multiple blasts overnight, one of which lit up the sky in a deep red hue, but reported calm on Sunday morning.

    The airbase houses Syrian Air Force intelligence and, in early 2017, the Syrian government accused its neighbour Israel of bombing the base.

    Israel has previously acknowledged having carried out air raids in Syria, aimed at degrading the capacity of Iran and its allies, including Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah group, which are backing President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year war.

    In May, it said it attacked nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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