Large explosions were heard miles from the airport that serves Damascus, the Syrian capital, and the glow of flames could be seen in the distance, according to residents in the area.
Sana, the state-run Syrian news agency, said that Israel had carried out missile strikes on the airport, but it did not specify what had been hit. The Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen reported that Israeli missiles had passed over the Golan Heights, and that Israeli jets had not entered Syrian airspace.
The Israeli military reported Thursday evening that it had fired a Patriot missile, stopping what it called a “drone” or “object” crossing into its airspace from Syria.
Last month, Israel took the rare step of confirming that it had carried out several strikes in central Syria, also against what it said were efforts to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. The Shiite group is aligned with Iran and is fighting in Syria alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian government responded by firing antiaircraft missiles at Israeli jets, but these were in turn shot down by Israel’s new antimissile system, Arrow, which the Israeli news media said had been deployed for the first time.
On Thursday, the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, suggested that his country was likely to agree to any American request to assist in strikes on Syria, possibly without consulting British lawmakers. He added in an interview with the BBC that if Washington proposed action in response to a chemical weapons attack, for instance, Britain would be unlikely to refuse to give support.
“In my view, and I know it’s also the view of the prime minister, it would be difficult for us to say no,” Mr. Johnson said.
British participation in such operations is rarely crucial militarily, but it lends political support to the United States. As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, its government is seeking to build closer ties with Washington.
British law does not require the government to seek parliamentary approval before starting a military action, though prime ministers have done so in recent years.
In 2013, the Conservative prime minister at the time, David Cameron, was unable to muster votes in Parliament to approve strikes against the Assad government intended to deter the use of chemical weapons.
Israel has carried out intermittent strikes inside Syria, fearing that Iran is helping Hezbollah build its arsenal amid the chaos of the civil war.
Israel has also struck Hezbollah and Syrian military targets in southern…