Syria accuses Israel of air strikes near capital

Children in Damascus on Dec 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Children in Damascus on Dec 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria's army accused Israel of carrying out air strikes on Sunday against two government-held areas in Damascus province, one of them near the capital's international airport.

"This afternoon, the Israeli enemy targeted two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the Damascus International Airport," the army said in a statement read out on state television.

It said the strikes caused damage but that nobody was hurt.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from the Israeli authorities, but the Syrian army reiterated its claim that Israel is helping rebels seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster.

"This direct aggression by Israel was carried out to help the terrorists in Syria, after our armed forces secured important victories in Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and elsewhere," the army said.

"This proves Israel's direct support for terrorism in Syria," it added, using the regime's term to refer to both peaceful opponents, armed rebels and extremists fighting in Syria's nearly four-year war.

The Israeli military has launched several strikes against Syrian military positions since the outbreak of the country's armed uprising in 2011.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said one of the sites targeted, Dimas, was a military position.

Operations at the international airport are both civilian and military.

Before Sunday, the most recent air raid was in March and targeted military positions in the Quneitra region that borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Syria and Israel are officially in a state of war, and Israel has since 1967 occupied the Golan Heights. The occupation is not recognised by the international community.