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Israeli missiles hit Syrian air base: Regime

DAMASCUS: The Syrian regime said on Friday that Israeli missile strikes caused a series of explosions at an air base outside Damascus before dawn.
The airport southwest of the capital is a major strategic air base used mainly by Syrian elite Republican Guards and had been a base used to fire rockets at former opposition-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus. State television did not give any further details.
“In a desperate attempt to support terrorist organizations, Israeli enemy aircraft launched missiles from the north of Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) at 00:25 am (2225 GMT Thursday),” a military source told the state SANA news agency. “The Syrian armed forces warns the Israeli enemy of the repercussions of this blatant aggression, and insists on continuing the war on terrorism to eliminate it,” the source added.
An AFP correspondent heard several explosions and saw a large fire inside the Mazzeh airbase on the western outskirts of Damascus, with smoke visible across the capital.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there had been eight blasts around the base as missiles hit ammunition warehouses.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Friday refused to confirm whether it would invite the US to Syria peace talks later this month after Washington was excluded from brokering a recent truce in the war-torn country.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that Turkey and Russia had agreed that Washington “should be definitely invited” to talks under their auspices on the war-torn country’s political future set to take place in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Jan. 23.
Asked to comment on the Turkish statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I cannot say anything about this for now.”
Peskov nonetheless added that Russia is “interested in the broadest possible representation of the parties who have a bearing on the prospects of a political settlement in Syria.”
Last month Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed the hope that the new US administration could “also join the efforts so that we can work in the same direction harmoniously and collectively.”