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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scenes of devastation left by Israeli rockets as Syria pledges retaliation for the 'declaration of war'

Bulldozers are clearing away rubble from buildings razed to the ground by Israeli airstrikes near Damascus, as Syria pledges retaliation for the 'declaration of war'.

Pictures have emerged from Syria showing the damage caused to buildings, including some forming part of a chicken farm, by an attack in Al-Hama - close to Jamraya where a research centre was targeted.

Senior government ministers in Syria warned its neighbour it risked engulfing the Middle East in conflict after carrying out airstrikes twice in the past three days.

Aftermath: Bulldozers work to remove rubble after the Israeli airstrike in the Al-Hama area near Damascus

Destruction: The damage left at a chicken farm building following the attack by Israel on Syria

Rubble: Syria has branded the attacks a 'declaration of war' and pledged retaliation against Israel

Razed to the ground: A chicken which survived the airstrike stands among the flattened buildings

Faisal al Mekdad, Syria's deputy foreign minister, pledged that the country would retaliate against Israel 'in its own time and way' after a weapons factory and other military facilities were bombed.

Israel claimed it was targeting Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. But Syrian officials accused Israel of carrying out 'terrorist acts' on behalf of jihadi groups trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel's second raid on Syria in 48 hours signalled a massive escalation of its involvement in the two-year civil war. Video footage showed dramatic orange-flamed blasts over Damascus's skyline after weapons dumps were hit in the raids, which also killed several people.

Eyewitness Mohammed Saeed said: 'The explosions were so strong the earth shook under us.'

Footage from Lebanon's Al Manar TV, affiliated with Hezbollah, shows smoke rising from what is purportedly an ammunition depot following an air strike in Dimas

A soldier points to a crater following an air strike in Jamraya on May 5

Free Syrian Army fighters, on a pick-up truck, head towards the frontline where clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are taking place in the al-Ziyabiya area, in Damascus

Rebel fighters: The clashes are taking place in the al-Ziyabiya area, in Damascus

Syria said three military sites had been hit: the research centre at Jamraya; a paragliding airport in the al-Dimas area of Damascus, and a site in Maysaloun.

A statement from the Syrian Foreign Ministry said: 'The Israeli attack led to the fall of a number of martyrs and wounded from the ranks of Syrian citizens, and led to widespread destruction in these sites and in the civilian districts near to them.

'This leaves no room for doubt Israel is the beneficiary, the mover and sometime the executor of the terrorist acts which Syria is witnessing and which target it as a state and people directly or through its tools inside.'

Syrian information minister Omran al-Zohbi warned the attack made the Middle East 'more dangerous' and 'opens the door wide to all possibilities'.

He added that Syria had the duty 'to defend its people by all available means'.

Rockets: Large explosions were reported in Mount Qassioun, a military site, near the Syrian capital of Damascus early on Sunday (web photo reportedly of the blast). Syrian TV claims Israeli rockets were to blame

Explosion: Syria says Israel fired rockets at a military research center in the Damascus suburb of Jamraya, (a photo shared on social media reportedly of the explosion). The Israel Defense Forces declined to comment

Attack: Israeli warplanes began bombing suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria on Thursday (pictured an F-15I tactical fighter jet taking at the Hatzerim Air Force in southern Israel in 2012)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2319645/After-airstrikes-Scenes-devastation-left-Israeli-rockets-Syria-pledges-retaliation-declaration-war.html#ixzz2SSzqcMMB