Syrian official: Israeli strike killed dozens of troops

Syrian military official tells 'New York Times' alleged strike killed dozens of Assad's elite Republican Guard troops; rebels say strike targeted storehouses of long-range missiles, chemical weapons research facility.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 6, 2013 08:45
1 minute read.
A screenshot from footage claimed to be of an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria, May 5, 2013.

syria second strike 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

 
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The alleged Israeli airstrike Sunday in Syria struck several critical military facilities near Damascus and killed dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace, a high-ranking Syrian military official told the New York Times on Monday.

A doctor at the Syrian military’s Tishreen Hospital said there were at least 100 dead soldiers and many dozens more wounded, the Times reported.

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The Syrian military official accused Israel of working with opposition forces trying to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the strike had targeted members of the Republican Guard in an area of Damascus where rebels have made few inroads.

Israel has not commented on two airstrikes early Sunday morning and early Friday, that it allegedly carried out according to foreign media reports.

Among the targets of the alleged strikes were the bases of the elite Republican Guard, storehouses of long-range missiles and a military research center is said to be the country's main chemical weapons facility, the Times quoted opposition activists and US officials as saying.

Syrian state television claimed the bombing occurred around a military research facility at Jamraya. It quoted a letter from Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem to the United Nations saying: “The blatant Israeli aggression has the aim to provide direct military support to the terrorist groups after they failed to control territory.”

A Western intelligence source told Reuters: “In last night’s attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.”



A US intelligence official said on Sunday that the US was not given any warning before the alleged Israeli strike.

He did not, however, confirm that Israel was in fact behind the attack. "It would not be unusual for them to take aggressive steps when there was some chance that some sophisticated weapons system would fall into the hands of people like Hezbollah," the US intelligence official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Reuters, Yaakov Lappin and Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.


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