Friday, May 20, 2022

Israel bombs Syrian port of Latakia; 2nd attack in December…

The Syrian port of Latakia was bombed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This is the second such incident in the last month on that key point for the country’s trade. “The Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression with several missiles from the Mediterranean… against the container field at the port of Latakia,” military sources told Agence France Presse, referring to state-run Sana. Israel, which has carried out numerous military actions in Syria over the last decade, is so far keeping silent about what happened.

The missiles “caused several fires at the site and significant material damage” and several ambulances and firefighting units went to the site, where a number of containers were set on fire, adds the Efe agency also quoting the official Sana. According to firefighters, the affected containers contained fuel and vehicle parts, the same source added, although the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based NGO with a wide network of partners on the ground, said they contained weapons and ammunition.

Official media in Damascus also noted that the shockwave from the explosions caused the shattering of glass in several houses and a private hospital near the port and security forces cordoned off the area to prevent accidents.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, mainly against government positions, Iranian-backed forces and fighters of the Hezbollah movement. Last December 7, the Hebrew state already launched strikes against an arms shipment from Iran in the port of Latakia, in western Syria, without causing casualties. It was the first attack against this facility since the beginning of the conflict, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Israel is so far officially silent about what happened, although it has carried out hundreds of strikes since 2011, when the war in Syria began. According to an Israeli army report, it struck around 50 targets in that country in 2020. The deadliest operation since the beginning of these bombings was last January 13, in which 57 regime soldiers and allied fighters were killed in eastern Syria. Behind these armed actions by Israel is the attempt to prevent its archenemy Iran from further extending its influence over the neighboring country.

The head of Israeli military intelligence, General Aharon Haliva, has accused Iran of “continuing to promote subversion and terror” in the Middle East, reports AFP. In this shadow war, Israel has attacked Iran’s military installations in Syria and has also deployed acts of sabotage inside the Islamic Republic against its nuclear program. Tehran has been a key backer of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the last decade of civil war, contributing funding and weaponry.

The war in Syria has so far killed nearly half a million people since its start in 2011 with the brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations against President El Asad’s regime.