Massive Explosions, Smoke Plume Over Hama Leads To Confusion, Panic In Syria

Syrians in the central part of the country are on edge after a series of massive explosions rocked a Hama military airport on Friday. Local reports indicate up to seven explosions were heard, after which a mushroom could hung over the edge of Hama city. 

“The explosions struck several regime depots of weapons and fuel at Hama military airport,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the pro-opposition source Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

Conflicting accounts quickly emerged as to what caused the blasts, with UK and Abu Dhabi based Sky News Arabia claiming there was an attack on Hama province’s Iranian air defenses, though most early reporting only admitted speculation. 

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The aftermath of Friday’s successive blasts in Hama province.

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The Times of Israel reports concerning early confusion in the media:

The Sky News Arabia outlet reported that the explosions were caused by an attack on an advanced Iranian air defense system.

However, Syrian military sources told the Lebanese el-Nashra TV station that the blasts were caused by an accident at a weapons storage depot.

There were no immediate comments by Syrian officials on who or what was behind the explosions.

After the May 10 Israeli attack on dozens of targets inside Syria in what was the biggest military escalation between the two countries in decades, some premature reports pointed to another possible Israeli strike on the base which some now allege houses Iranian troops and equipment.  

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The Times of Israel further indicates that the Arabic language Sky News reporting asserts specifically that “the target of the [Israeli or allied coalition] strike was an Iranian Bavar 373 long-range missile defense system, a state-of-the-art model that was unveiled in 2016 and put into service in March 2017. Iranian officials compare the system to the Russian-made S-300 system, which is considered a powerful air defense platform.”

However, little information has yet to be actually confirmed as to the cause, and local reporters say the specific base has never been targeted by Israeli or US strikes, suggesting there is no history of Iranian troop presence in that location.

An early reporting consensus suggests an arms and munitions warehouse may have exploded in an event that’s currently receiving a lot of media attention due to the size and stunning nature of the images. 

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As South Front reports, Syrian sources reveal that several ammo depots were part of the airbase and had exploded for unknown reasons, further indicating the possibility that poorly stored ammunition may have ignited as result of a heat wave that’s hitting central Syria.

Other sources claimed that a poorly controlled explosion of dozens of IEDs, captured from militants, led to the explosion of all the ammo depots in the airbase.

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Local observers didn’t rule out the possibility of an Israeli airstrike, especially that Israel had targeted similar ammo depots in the eastern Hama countryside on April 29. Another possibility is that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) or the Free Syrian Army (FSA) targeted Hama airbase with grad rockets, as they do on a regular basis.

Syrian state TV confirmed that several explosions occurred in Hama airbase, however, no further information was provided.

This is a developing story

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