Israel missile attack kills 7 in Syria

Weedah Hamzah

At least seven military personnel have been killed in an Israeli missile attack near the Syrian capital Damascus.

Three members of the Syrian government forces and four allied Iranian officers were killed in the overnight attack that targeted the area of Damascus International Airport, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.

The area was targeted after an unidentified cargo plane had arrived at the airport, the Britain-based watchdog said.

It was unclear if the plane had flown from Iran or from inside Syria, it added.

Iran is the main supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Earlier, Syria's state media reported that the Syrian air defences had confronted "hostile targets" near Damascus.

The official news agency SANA, citing a military source, said "the army observed hostile missiles coming from over the occupied Syrian Golan, and immediately the army air defences intercepted and downed a number of them before they could reach their targets."

A Syrian military source said the missiles were fired by Israel and targeted areas in the south-western countryside of Damascus.

Residents in the area said sounds of explosions were heard south of the capital and in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport.

So far, there has been no Israeli comment.

Israel has previously conducted similar strikes inside war-torn Syria, saying that it is trying to prevent Iran from building up its military influence in the region.