Report: Fires erupt in Syria’s Latakia port after Israeli attack

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows firefighters battling the blaze at Syria's Latakia port after an Israeli air strike early on Dec 28, 2021. (SANA / AFP)

CAIRO – Fires erupted in Syria's Latakia Port's container storage area following an Israeli missile attack, Syrian state media reported on Tuesday.

The attack, the second in December, damaged facades of a hospital, some residential buildings and shops.

The attack, the second in December, damaged facades of a hospital, some residential buildings and shops

"The Israeli "aggression" caused big materialistic damages and assessing its results is still a work in progress", the Syrian defense ministry said in a statement.

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Teheran-backed forces including Lebanon's Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

Live footage aired by the Syrian State TV showed flames and smoke in the containers area.

"Fire fighters are trying to put the fires off while ambulances arrived at the scene," the state TV reporter said.

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Latakia, a Mediterranean port, is Syria's main commercial port.

Russia, which has been Assad's most powerful ally during the war, operates an air base at Hmeimim some 20 km (12 miles) away from Latakia.

On Monday, Syria condemned Israeli plans to double within five years the number of Jewish settlers in the Golan Heights captured from Syria in 1967 as a "dangerous and unprecedented escalation".

Israel's cabinet approved a blueprint on Sunday to build some 7,300 additional housing units on the strategic plateau in a move that could tighten its hold on the territory.

"Syria strongly condemns the dangerous and unprecedented escalation by the Israeli occupation authorities" in the Golan, the state-run SANA news agency said, adding Damascus would seek to use all legally available means to retake the territory.

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Speaking to Syrian TV station al-Ekhbariya, foreign minister Faisal Mekdad called Israel's actions against Syria "criminal" and said they violated the 1981 UN Resolution 497 declaring Israel's effective annexation of the Golan as "null and void."

Mekdad also said that the United States is stealing natural resources from Syria and imposing illegitimate sanctions.

The US forces, with the help of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, continue to steal the Syrian oil, wheat, and cotton, he said.

He said the SDF, with the assistance of the US forces, is holding 60,000 people in the al-Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria, noting that the SDF is stealing the aid that is sent to the refugees.

He also claimed that US sanctions against Syria are "illegitimate" and aimed at destabilizing the country.