Missiles Pound Major Syrian Coastal City of Latakia

Israeli warplanes attack major city

The major Syrian coastal city of Latakia was pounded by over an hour of missile strikes, with reports of massive explosions. Syrian air defenses were launched in Latakia and neighboring Tartus, which is the host of a major Russian naval base.

Syrian state media conceded that they had no way of confirming who was attacking, though an early statement from the Syrian Army said it was an Israeli attack that came from inside Lebanese airspace. They claimed two soldiers were killed in the attack.

The Russian Defense Ministry, however, issued an alternate statement saying they’d detected the missile fire as coming from he FS Auvergne, a French naval frigate deployed off the Syrian coast. Four Israeli F-16s were apparently responsible, according to a later Defense Ministry statement.

This is particularly dangerous, as a Russian military surveillance plane was shot down off the Latakia coast. Shooting down a Russian plane during an attack on Syria would be a huge escalation of tensions in the region, whoever did it.

Attacks against Latakia and Tartus are already dangerous enough of an escalation, as Russia has long warned that they would not tolerate attacks near their facilities inside Syria, and this is right in the midst of Russia’s naval base, and near an air field.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.