Syria denies foreign attack on airbase west of Damascus

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem requested that Iran continue its support for Syria in a meeting in Damascus on Monday with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Fars News.

At least two pro-Syrian regime fighters were killed overnight in a series of strikes at a military airport near Damascus, a war monitor said on Sunday.

However, one military source cited by Syrian state media outlet Sana, has denied there has been an attack, instead saying the explosions were caused by a short circuit at a munitions dump.

He could not specify their nationalities or whether they belonged to militias or government forces.

Powerful explosions rocked Syria's Mazzeh military airport in the wee hours of Sunday morning, according to reports across the Middle East.

An official in the regional alliance backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had earlier attributed the blasts to Israeli missile strikes. "I believe that the meeting will be successful and beneficial for the region, the people of Syria and the struggle against terror", said Bahram Qassemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry, to Iran's Fars news agency.

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The Syrian government has blamed Israel for previous attacks on the airport.

"The explosions heard were due to an explosion at a munitions deposit close to the airport which was due to an electrical short circuit", the source said, without mentioning any casualties.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes in Syria to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to its Lebanese enemy Hezbollah.

In the statement from the Syrian President's office, Assad and Zarif said that resorting to "threats and pressure reflect the failure of those countries to realize their plans for the region after Syria and Iran confronted them". Israel has grown nervous of Iran's growing presence in Syria and threatened to prevent a build-up of pro-Iranian forces near its frontiers with Syria.

More than seven years since the conflict began, regime forces have managed to retake entire regions from rebels and militants, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.

Tehran has provided steady political, financial, and military support to the government during this period.

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