CAIRO, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Syrian air defenses confronted an “Israeli aggression” in the Damascus countryside on Thursday, Syrian state-owned Ekhbariya TV and state news agency SANA said.
A Syrian military source said in a statement “the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression this evening with bursts of missiles from the direction of southeast Beirut” in Lebanon and “targeting some points in the vicinity of the city of Damascus and the vicinity of the city of Homs”.
The Israeli military declined comment on the reported strike in Syria.
The sound of aircraft could be heard in and around Beirut.
Lebanon’s defense minister Zeina Akar condemned the attack, saying that it “blatantly violated Lebanon’s airspace at low altitude, causing a state of panic among citizens.”
She said the attack violated U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 to resolve the 2006 Lebanon war and she called on the U.N. to deter Israel from carrying out airstrikes on Syria using Lebanese airspace. Akar said she had sent a complaint to the United Nations.
The Syrian statement said its air defenses “confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down most of them, and the results of the aggression are now being audited.”
During the air strike, a plane belonging to Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines coming from Abu Dhabi had to hold in Syrian airspace for about 10 minutes before landing in Beirut, as did a plane from Turkey’s Pegasus airlines, said Fadi Alhassan, acting general manager for Lebanon’s civil aviation authority.
Reporting By Ahmed Tolba and Omar Fahmy, additional reporting Laila Bassam in Beirut and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem Editing by Grant McCool
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