A general view shows the damage inflicted on the Old Aleppo markets in the old quarter of Syria's second city of Aleppo. File/AFP
Israel carried out an aerial attack southeast of Syria’s northern Aleppo province late on Monday, a Syrian military official said.
Syria’s air defences on Monday intercepted an Israeli attack on Al-Safirah area of southern Aleppo, state media reported, a location where Israel has repeatedly hit a growing Iranian presence.
Syrian air defences shot down most of the missiles in the attack that occurred just before midnight, said the unidentified military official, quoted by the state news agency SANA. The targets are still being identified, the official said.
The Syrian government has never acknowledged the strikes are aimed at Iranian assets, which it has said are limited to some advisers.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has activists on the ground in Syria, said the Israeli strikes targeted weapons depots that belong to Iranian-backed militia operating in Aleppo’s Safira region. The group said the strikes were followed by loud explosions. The weapons depots were located inside Syrian military posts, the group said.
The attack took place on the eve of Eid Al Adha, one of Islam’s holiest holidays.
Explosions were heard across Aleppo, which was Syria's most populated urban centre and a commercial and industrial powerhouse before the war.
Authorities said work was under way to repair the main electricity cable to the city after a direct hit cut power.
Loud explosions were heard over a central area of the capital around 12:30am local time, and SANA reported that Syrian air defences were "confronting hostile targets in the sky around Damascus.”
Since the start of the civil war in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria targeting government troops as well as allied Iranian forces and fighters from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Israel’s airstrikes on Aleppo’s international airport early on March 7th, disrupting aid deliveries for victims of last month’s earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, elicited rare criticism from the US and UN and no mention of sanctions on the perpetrator. While declining to assume responsibility, Israel has accused Iran of transferring weapons
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