Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:14PM
A photo taken from the Syrian town of Douma shows flames rising from Damascus International Airport following an explosion early in the morning of April 27, 2017. (Photos by AFP)
A photo taken from the Syrian town of Douma shows flames rising from Damascus International Airport following an explosion early in the morning of April 27, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

Iran and Russia have condemned an attack by Israel on a major airport in Syria as an act of aggression and a blatant violation of the Arab country's sovereignty.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan condemned the attack earlier on Thursday on an area near the international airport in the Syrian capital Damascus, saying the aggression was in line with Israel's policy to to help the terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government.

“In my opinion, those operations help terrorists,” Dehqan said while on a visit to Moscow, adding that the strike was meant to undermine the gains made by the Syrian government against terrorist groups.

“When it becomes worse for the terrorists, the strikes follow, bringing them a message saying: 'We are defending and protecting you, so don’t worry and if it’s necessary we’ll intervene,” the Iranian defense minister stated.

Such strikes "are only aimed at ensuring the survival of terrorists," he added.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz condoned the Thursday morning attack, saying it was in line with an established policy to target weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, a main ally of the Syrian government in its fight against Takfiri militants. 

“I can confirm that the incident in Syria completely conforms to Israel’s policy,” he said.

Russia, which has also been assisting Damascus in the anti-terror fight since September 2015, also denounced the attack near Damascus as an act of aggression.

"Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria and regards them as impermissible and running counter to international law," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday, adding, "We are urging all to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, a UN member-state."

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Syrian authorities have yet to officially report on the extent of damage suffered in the attack and whether it inflicted casualties. However, the state-run SANA news agency has quoted officials as blaming Israel for the attack. Earlier reports had suggested that the area was hit by missiles fired from the occupied Palestinian territories. Later reports, including one by the al-Aalam news network, said Israeli fighter jets had carried out the attack.

There have been numerous reports indicating that militants fighting the Damascus government since 2011 enjoy arms support and medical care from Israel. 

The Israeli military said on Thursday night that it had shot down what it identified only as "a target" over the occupied Golan Heights. Some media outlets claimed that the object was a drone, but a military spokeswoman refused to comment.