TEL AVIV: Israel launched a second round of strikes against Syria in 24 hours on Sunday, state media reported, as US President Donald Trump called on Russia and Iran to “stop bombing the hell” out of the war-torn country.
Syria accused Israel of targeting an airbase in Homs province, reportedly killing five people, just hours after carrying out retaliatory attacks on military and intelligence posts south of Damascus, killing 10.
“Our air defences thwarted an Israeli aggression and destroyed two of the rockets that targeted the T-4 airbase,” a military source told state news agency SANA said Sunday evening.
The remaining rockets “killed one soldier, wounded two others, and damaged an arms warehouse,” the source added.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported five killed, including one Syrian soldier, adding that a rocket warehouse was destroyed.
In addition to the Syrian army, Iranian fighters and Hezbollah paramilitary forces are also stationed at the airbase, according to the monitor.
Hours earlier, Israel said it had carried out strikes in the province of Quneitra, which includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied and annexed by Israel.
It said the attack was in response to rare rocket fire from its neighbour late Saturday.
Two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and one had been “located within Israeli territory,” the Israeli Army said.
The Observatory said 10 were killed, including Syrian soldiers and foreign fighters in the attack south of the capital.
Late Sunday, Trump tweeted calling for an end to the bombing in the jihadist stronghold of the northwestern region of Idlib.
“Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians.
“The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!” he said on Twitter shortly before he departed for a state visit to Britain.
As well as killing dozens of civilians, the recent bombardments by Syrian and Russian forces allied to President Bashar al-Assad have pushed 300,000 people towards Turkey’s border, Syrian NGOs have said.
Meanwhile, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
The country says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s eight-year war which has killed more than 370,000 people.
The Jewish state insists that it has the right to continue to target positions in Syria held by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah out of self-defence.
“We won’t tolerate fire at our territory and will respond forcefully to any aggression against us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, after the first strikes.
The attacks come amid soaring tensions between Iran and the United States.
The stand-off had been simmering since the US last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty which Iran reached with major world powers.
In recent weeks Washington has accused Iran of alleged threats and deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.