Photo: Reuters
Airport in the crosshairs
Photo: Reuters

Syria: Rebels rocket Damascus airport

Syrian official news agency reports rockets hit plane, fuel dump, start massive fire; US allocates $60 million to support rebels; military aid also considered

Rebels in Syria fired two rockets at Damascus international airport on Friday, hitting an aircraft and a fuel dump and sparking a massive fire, the Syrian official SANA news agency reported.


Authorities managed to control the fire and air traffic continues as usual, said the news agency.


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Rebels have claimed several times in the past that they have attacked the airport, but this is the first time state media confirms such an attack.

טיל סורי שנפל בידי המורדים, ארכיון (צילום: רויטרס)

Syrian missile in rebel hands (Photo: Reuters) 


The road leading to the airport is at the limit of the battle zone between the rebels and Assad's forces in the capital.


On November, air traffic at the airport was briefly halted due to nearby combat.


Recently the United States announced the allocation of $60 million to the Syrian rebels and will supply them with humanitarian aid, in order to increase pressure on President Bashar Assad.


The aid does not include weapons, but according to the New York Times, Washington is considering to equip rebels with non-lethal military aid such as flak jackets, armored personnel carriers and communication devices.


It was also reported that the US has started training rebels.


Chemical weapons

Meanwhile, the international community continues to debate reports of Assad's possible use of chemical weapons against his people.


On Thursday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that the Syrian regime did indeed use unconventional weapons, and added that he will bring up the issue in his upcoming meeting with US

President Barack Obama.


"We will discuss the use of chemical weapons during our meeting with President Obama; it's clear that the Assad regime is using it," Erdogan told Japanese media.


"The opposition is in control of the region, but Assad is the one using chemical arms, fighter planes and helicopters. These are the final moments of the regime, but we don’t know when it will fall. It'll happen suddenly."


Earlier Thursday, a top Syrian government official told CNN that chemical weapons were a "red line" for Syria.


Syrian Information Minister Omran al Zoubi said in an interview with CNN that a hard-line Islamist rebel group has used chemical weapons during the civil war and his government "would never use" such munitions "if we had them."



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פרסום ראשון: 05.03.13, 16:42
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