A series of major explosions this week at an air defense base in Syria appeared to be caused by a military airstrike.
Details of what happened outside the northwestern coastal city of Latakia remain sketchy, but reports in both the Middle East and the United States described it as an Israeli airstrike against the Syrian installation. Israel has occasionally launched targeted strikes on Syria installations and as usual, it would not comment on reports that it was involved in the latest incident.
Citing unnamed sources, Al Arabiya reported that an Israeli strike had targeted a depot holding surface-to-air missiles destined for the Lebanon-based militant group Hizballah. Citing an Obama administration official, CNN also reported it was an Israeli military strike. But there was also confusion about when the strike occurred; some reports said Wednesday, others Thursday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported witnesses describing explosions at the Syrian military base. The Observatory did not identify the source of the explosion, but an unnamed Syrian security source told AFP that a rocket fell near the base.
CNN reported Thursday that an anonymous Obama administration official said Israeli fighter jets attacked the base, describing it as a missile storage site, apparently confirming reports on Twitter and in the Israeli media.
“We’re not commenting on these reports,” an Israeli official told Reuters.
Reuters also reports that the Lebanese military said six Israeli jets flew over Lebanese territory on Wednesday, a higher number than usual for Israeli patrols and which, in the past, have preceded Israeli strikes.