Search This Blog

Friday, July 5, 2013

Report: Series of blasts heard overnight near Assad arms depot in northern Syria

A series of loud explosions were heard Thursday night at an arms depot in northern Syria belonging to the Assad regime, a number of sources reported on Friday.

BBC Arabic radio reported that overnight Thursday a series of blasts was heard at the storage site near the port of Latakia. The coastal city is an Alawite area that is under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops.

The background to the explosions is still unclear. Syrian opposition groups claim that the blasts were the result of a rebel operation.

The Lebanese TV station Al-Manar reported that the explosions were heard early Friday at different times in Latakia. 

According to the report, the blasts were caused by rocket or missile fire at a military base some 20 kilometers from the city. Al-Manar cited a military source as saying that the fire came from the direction of a northern suburb of Latakia, where there are clashes between rebels and regime forces.

The same source said that the base contains large stockpiles of weapons. The anonymous source denied the possibility that the explosions were caused by an air or sea strike targeting the regime's arms store. 

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, also reported that weapons stores were bombed Friday morning east of Latakia. 

The group said in a statement that "huge explosions shook the area" where the large Syrian army base and weapons depots are located. 

According to the group, residents in the area where the blasts were heard say they were caused by missile fire. However according to other reports that have reached the rights group, fighter jets were seen in the skies in the area of the city of Al-Haffah.

The Facebook page of a group claiming to be based in Latakia also reported the blasts were heard in the area Friday morning. 

The group said Syrian army helicopters were seen in the skies in the area after the explosions, and that large regime forces and rescue units were called to the scene following the blasts.

Witnesses on the scene said emergency services transferred an unknown number of wounded to hospital.

Opposition websites said the weapons store was attacked by the Free Syrian Army, and that, according to eye-witnesses, the blasts took place at around 2 A.M, and flames could be seen from afar.

There were also reports of heavy exchanges of gunfire in the area after the explosions.  

Heavy clashes between Assad forces and rebels have been taking place in the eastern and northern suburb of Latakia for days, according to opposition websites.

Last week, an Iron Dome missile defense system battery was deployed in Haifa in northern Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's unit stated that, "the Iron Dome system is deployed from time to time in various positions, in coordination with the most current assessments of the situation, and currently, the system has been deployed to the north."

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with unusual aggressiveness about Syria while visiting IDF troops in the Golan Heights. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and head of the Israel Air Force Amir Eshel also hinted at tension in the north in speeches at a graduation ceremony for pilots last week.  

No comments:

Post a Comment