Syrian state media: Israeli strike damages Aleppo airport

March 7, 2023 GMT
This is a locator map for Syria with its capital, Damascus. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Syria with its capital, Damascus. (AP Photo)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — An Israeli airstrike hit the international airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo early on Tuesday, putting it out of service, Syria state media said. All flights were rerouted to two other airports in the war-torn country, according to the report.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military official, said Israeli warplanes fired missiles that hit Aleppo International Airport while flying over the Mediterranean Sea. It said the strike “caused material damage to the airport and put it out of service.”

There was no comment from Israeli officials and it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

Syria’s Ministry of Transportation said all flights that were supposed to head to Aleppo will land in the capital, Damascus, or the international airport in the coastal province of Latakia.

The Foreign Ministry called the Israeli strike a “double crime,” saying that it targeted a civilian airport and a main channel for the flow of aid to areas hit by last month’s earthquake.

Since the Feb. 6, earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria killing more than 50,000 people, including 6,000 in Syria, scores of flights carrying aid from different countries have landed at the Aleppo airport.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.

Israel has targeted airports and sea ports in the government-held parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms shipments from Iran to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Thousands of Iran-backed fighters from around the region joined Syria’s 12-year conflict helping tip the balance in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Aleppo, which suffered widespread destruction in Syria’s civil war, was again heavily damaged in the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria last month.

On Feb. 19, Israeli airstrikes targeted residential areas in Damascus, killing at least five people and wounding 15, according to Syrian state media.

On Jan. 2, the Syrian army said Israel’s military fired missiles toward Damascus’ international airport, putting it out of service and killing two soldiers. That attack came amid Israeli fears the airport was being used to funnel Iranian weaponry into the country.

In September, Israeli airstrikes also hit the Aleppo airport, putting it out of service for days.