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Showing posts with label Damascus International Airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Damascus International Airport. Show all posts

In tacit threat, Israel releases satellite photos of Syrian presidential palace

To mark 30 years since its first orbital launch, Defense Ministry publishes images from its newest spy satellite, showing Syrian tanks, an airfield… and Bashar Assad’s home

A photograph of Syria's Presidential Palace in Damascus taken by Israel's Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

Israel on Monday released photographs taken by its newest spy satellite of sites located deep inside Syria, including Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s palace, in an apparent threat to the regime.
The images, taken by the Ofek 11 spy satellite, were released by the Defense Ministry to mark 30 years since Israel’s first orbital launch on September 19, 1988.

The three photographs released by the ministry showed the Syrian Presidential Palace, also known as the Palace of the People; tanks on a Syrian military base; and the Damascus international airport, which was reportedly targeted by an Israeli missile strike on Saturday night. 

The publication of the images could be seen as both a show of strength and a tacit threat to Syria, where Israel has routinely conducted air raids against Iranian targets — over 200 of them since 2017, according to the Israel Defense Forces.





The Saturday night strike reportedly targeted an Iranian plane at the Damascus international airport that was delivering weapons to pro-regime forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units fighting in Syria’s civil war, as well as several weapons storage facilities at the airport itself.


Syrian President Bashar Assad in an AP interview at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, September 2016. (Syrian Presidency via AP)

There was no official Israel comment on the reported attack. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday seemed to acknowledge that the Israeli military was responsible for it

“Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”



A photograph of Syria’s international airport in Damascus taken by Israel’s Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, claimed that Israel had targeted the airport with missiles, activating the country’s air defenses, which shot down a number of the projectiles. The Syrian military has often been accused of exaggerating its successes in intercepting incoming missiles.

On Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that the alleged Israeli strike caused “substantial” damage at the airport, but had no immediate information on casualties.


 For years, Israel has been concerned that Iran was using opportunities presented by the Syrian civil war to entrench itself militarily in the country in order to further threaten the Jewish state — alongside the threat already posed by terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Ofek 11

The Ofek 11 spy satellite was launched on September 13, 2016, using a Shavit rocket, the same basic model that Israel used to launch the first Ofek satellite 30 years before.

Shortly after takeoff, the team operating the satellite discovered it was not functioning properly. Teams of engineers on the ground worked to stabilize the Ofek 11 and get its systems running.


Israel’s Ofek-11 spy satellite takes off from Palmachim air base in central Israel on September 13, 2016. (Ministry of Defense Space Administration)

Nine days later, the satellite beamed back its first images, dispelling fears that it was a total operational loss.

“The Ofek 11 satellite will provide operational outputs,” the Defense Ministry said at the time.

The Ofek 11 was an upgrade from the Ofek 10 satellite launched by Israel in April 2014.

The Ofek 11 joined approximately 10 other satellites, including the Ofek 10, Ofek 9, Ofek 7 and Ofek 5, that feed intelligence to Israel’s security forces.

“Israel’s independent capabilities in the field of satellites represents a significant advantage in its efforts to stand up to various security threats. The quality of the images and photographs that are produced by our different satellites is incredible and provide us with valuable intelligence, and prove that the sky is not the limit,” Amnon Harari, the head of the Defense Ministry’s space program, said on Monday.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-tacit-threat-israel-releases-satellite-photos-of-syrian-presidential-palace/

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Syrians go to polls in 1st local elections for 7 years of war


Syrians go to polls in 1st local elections for 7 years of war
Syrians are electing their local councils during first municipal elections since the start of the lingering seven-year war. Polls have opened on Sunday shortly after an overnight airstrike hit Damascus airport.
 
As many as 6,551 polling stations opened on Sunday morning with Syrians invited to vote for their representatives in local councils, state news agency SANA reported. It said over 40,000 candidates are contesting 18,478 seats. Polls will be closed at 7.00pm local time, and authorities have said they took all necessary precautions to keep the ballot boxes safe and secure.
 
 
Today’s local elections, the first to be held since the conflict broke out in 2011, comes amid continued violence in various parts of the war-ravaged country. On Saturday night, an airstrike – purportedly carried out by Israeli jets – hit Damascus international airport causing several explosions.

Worrying news also come from Idlib, where the Syrian army braces for its major offensive on the militants-held stronghold. Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed chlorine-filled canisters were delivered by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters to stage a false flag attack that would be used to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its people.

Nevertheless, efforts to bring lasting peace to Syria still carry on. Recently, Russia, Turkey and Iran have called on all armed groups in Idlib and beyond to lay down arms and seek a peaceful transition in the country. Leaders of the three nations had previously met in Astana in May, where they agreed to push for negotiations between its government and opposition groups, which agree to cease hostilities.

The format brought together representatives of the Syrian government and armed opposition groups at the negotiating table – something previous efforts by the international community had failed to do.
Aside from the diplomatic efforts, Russia it actively engaged in humanitarian activities in Syria. Russian military personnel have defused thousands of explosive devices left by terrorists and brought tons of much-needed aid to Syrian provinces liberated from terrorists.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438560-syria-local-elections-war/
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[Video] Syrian air defense thwarted ‘Israeli missile attack’ near Damascus airport – state agency

Syrian air defense thwarted ‘Israeli missile attack’ near Damascus airport – state agency

FILE PHOTO. Syrian air defense missiles are seen in the sky over the city of Damascus. © Hummam Sheikh Ali / Xinhua / Global Look Press

Syrian Army air defenses have intercepted several “Israeli missiles” over Damascus International Airport, state news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.
“Our air defense systems thwarted an Israeli missile aggression,” the source said. A SANA reporter meanwhile reported sounds of explosions in the vicinity of the airport.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the reported incident, when approached by Reuters, saying “we don't comment on foreign reports.”


The agency released a short video showing what it says is an anti-aircraft missile in flight over Damascus. Another video, released by the Syrian news website Muraselon, supposedly shows an anti-aircraft missile being launched and then exploding mid-air. Due to the low quality of the footage it remains unclear if that projectile scored a hit.



Israel has repeatedly bombed locations in Syria, including military installations around Damascus. Israeli military rarely comments on attacks against the neighbor, yet it had previously acknowledged targeting weapon and munition storage facilities and command centers. Tel Aviv has asserted that its strikes are aimed to counter the alleged Iranian military buildup in Syria, while Damascus has condemned such attacks as aggression against the country.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438536-syria-damascus-airport-israel/

 

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