Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Syria state TV says wildfires spark explosion in ammunition depot west of Damascus

But some suspect an Israeli strike against Iranian positions

A man walks past a banner depicting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in Douma, outside Damascus, Syria, September 17, 2018. Reuters
A man walks past a banner depicting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in Douma, outside Damascus, Syria, September 17, 2018. Reuters

An explosion on Saturday in a Syrian ammunition depot in a military zone west of the capital was caused by wildfires, state television reported.

It said the depot was in the Dummar residential area.

But residents said the explosion, which could be heard across Damascus, appeared to have come from a mountainous area between Dummar and Qudsaya, where large army units are stationed.

Israel, which sees Iran as a threat to its existence, has said it had carried out hundreds of attacks in Syria on Iranian targets, including those of allied militia such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, in the past several years.

Asked abut the incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: "We don't comment on foreign reports."

Israel is trying to counter the influence carved out in Syria by Iran, which has supported Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in the war that erupted in 2011.

Its strikes on the capital have long focused on southern and northern areas where Western intelligence sources have said there were military compounds for Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias.

Mr Assad has said Iranian forces are welcome in the country, after years of military victories that have brought large parts of it back under his control.

Updated: June 16, 2019 08:43 AM

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