Syria’s Aleppo airport resumes flights days after airstrike
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Flights at Syria’s international airport in Aleppo resumed Friday, three days after it was put out of service by a suspected Israeli airstrike, the country’s head of civil aviation said.
Bassem Mansour told the pro-government Sham FM radio station that flights to and from the airport of Syria’s largest city resumed Friday morning after repairs were completed.
The suspected Israeli airstrike early Tuesday left multiple craters on the airport runway, satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press showed Thursday.
Since the Feb. 6 earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria killing more than 50,000 people, including over 6,000 in Syria, the airport has been a main entry point for jets carrying aid into the war-ton country. Authorities said after the strike that relief flights had been diverted to airports in Damascus and Latakia.
The attack on Aleppo airport comes after Israel struck the airfield as part of an Israeli campaign to disrupt Iranian weapons transfers into Syria for Iran-backed groups — including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Those attacks have continued despite ongoing political turmoil in Israel and as Iran’s nuclear program edges closer to enriching weapons-grade levels of uranium. Negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear capability have fallen apart.
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.
Aleppo’s airport, like many others in Middle East nations, is a dual-use facility that includes civilian and military sides. Iran has been key in arming and supporting President Bashar Assad in his country’s long civil war.
On Wednesday, El-Mostafa Benlamlih, a U.N. official overseeing relief efforts in Syria, asked that “all feasible precautions” be taken “to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities.”