Car bomb strikes near Damascus military airport


A general view shows burnt cars at the scene of a powerful car bomb explosion in Damascus on Feb. 21, 2013. The blast killed dozens of people, not to mention causing widespread destruction across the city.


Louai Beshara

A deadly car explosion struck a Damascus checkpoint Sunday night near a military airport, killing at least ten government soldiers. 

Syrian state-owned al-Ikhbariya television reported the explosion "resulted from an attempt to target the Mezzeh military airport," adding that witnesses said the blast echoed throughout most of western Damascus.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition activist group that monitors Syria's civil war, also reported the attack on the strategic airport, which according to the BBC, distributes the government's military supplies.

"A detonated car explosion targeted a military checkpoint near the Mezzeh military airport of the Mezzeh neighborhood," the Observatory reported, adding that 10 soldiers had been killed. It's unclear how many people were wounded in the attack, but multiple reports say many ambulances were seen going to and from the scene.

Other reports claim two bombs. One hit a checkpoint and another destroyed the main door at the Mazzeh airport, according to CNN, which spoke with Louay Mikdad, a spokesman of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group for the various factions of the Syrian opposition. 

The airport is stationed by the government's special forces, air force intelligence, and may also operate as a private airport for President Bashar al-Assad and his family, according to Al Jazeera

Located in the Mezzeh area, near the airport, are foreign embassies and the residencies of those closest to Assad, opposition activists say

In April, Syrian state media claimed Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi had survived a car bomb attack in the Mezzeh district.