Ammunition Depot Explosion Rocks Syrian Capital
An ammunition depot in Damascus exploded on Saturday, state media reported, prompting a blast heard across the Syrian capital.
“An ammunition depot for the Syrian army in western Damascus exploded after a fire in nearby fields started spreading,” state news agency SANA said, citing a military source.
The ammunition depot was located in a military zone in Mashrou Dummar, a western suburb, SANA reported.
But in a later statement SANA quoted a military source as saying that “investigations are still underway to determine the cause” of the blast.
The explosion wounded eight pro-government fighters, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“It remains unclear if the explosion was deliberate or a result of the fires in the area,” the war monitor said.
It cited eye-witness accounts claiming rockets were seen flying over the area.
The Syrian capital has been relatively calm since regime forces recaptured the Eastern Ghouta suburbs from rebel forces last year.
However, strikes by Syria’s rival Israel continue to target military installations around the capital.
On Wednesday, Syrian air defence shot down Israeli missiles targeting the south of the country, state media confirmed, as a monitor reported positions of the regime’s Lebanese ally Hizballah had been hit.
The attack was launched in the early hours of the morning against the Tall al-Hara sector near the Golan Heights, according to official news agency SANA, which said there had been no casualties.
SANA also accused Israel of conducting an “electronic war” and “jamming” Syrian radar.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strikes had targeted positions of the Hizballah Shia movement in two locations, but without causing any casualties.
“All the positions hit had the Lebanese Hizballah there,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The missiles targeted Tall al-Hara, a hill in the southern province of Daraa where Hizballah has radars and the regime has air defence batteries, said the Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.
It also targeted barracks for the Lebanese fighters in the abandoned town of Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of a demilitarised zone between both countries in the Golan.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, targeting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the regime’s allies Iran and Hizballah.
Earlier this month, Israel struck multiple positions held by regime forces over a period of 24 hours, killing 15 combatants according to the Observatory.
In January, it targeted Iranian positions in Syria in what it said was a response to an Iranian missile strike from inside the country.
That attack killed 21, mostly Iranians.
Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has left more than 370,000 people dead and displaced millions.
Israel and Hizballah have fought several wars, the latest in 2006.