Syria: Israel Attacks Latakia Port

Israel has carried out an airstrike on the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, causing a fire in a container storage area, Syrian state media reported. This appears to be the first Israeli attack on the facility. No casualties have been reported so far.

Latakia is Syria’s main commercial port and brings in a considerable amount of cargo. The attack took place at 1:23 am local time, the SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying. The official said several missiles struck the container area in the port, but that “our air defenses repelled the Israeli aggression in Latakia.”

Images posted by SANA showed flames and smoke in the container area and a fire truck at the scene. Ismail Hilal, the governor of Latakia, said firefighters had put out the flames, SANA reported. State television said five explosions rocked the city.

According to Al-Monitor, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has confirmed the strike was from Israel by stating “we’re pushing back on the bad forces of this region day and night” and “we won’t stop for one second. This happens almost daily.”

Previous attacks on the war-torn country

According to Reuters, Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war. (link: reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-aggression-targets-syrias-latakia-port-area-state-tv-2021-12-07/)

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.

The country has only acknowledged them when it targets the bases of Iran-allied militias while defending that the Iranian presence on its northern frontier is a red line.

Last month, Syrian state media reported four Israeli attacks. On November 24, Israeli missiles hit the west of Homs province and killed five people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Back in October, two separate attacks killed five pro-Iranian militiamen near the capital Damascus, while nine pro-government fighters were killed near the T4 airbase east of Palmyra in central Syria, the SOHR stated.

After the beginning of Syria’s war, multiple countries and forces have played a role in the development of the conflict. Since 2015, Russia has been the Assad government’s main ally. On Assad’s side, we can also find the governments of majority-Shia Iran and Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

On the anti-Assad rebel side, we find Sunni-majority countries, including Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The US has armed anti-Assad rebel groups and led an international coalition bombing ISIL targets since 2014 but has not involved itself as deeply as other countries.

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