Israel strike knocks out airport in Syria's Aleppo: Ministry

AFP , AP , Tuesday 7 Mar 2023

Israeli warplanes struck Aleppo airport before dawn Tuesday, causing significant damage that halted flights to and from Syria's war- and quake-battered second city, the defence ministry said.

Aleppo international airport
File photo: Aleppo s international airport. AFP


"At exactly 2:07 am (2307 GMT Monday), the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the Mediterranean west of Latakia targeting Aleppo international airport," Syria's defence ministry said in a statement.

The damage forced authorities to close the airport to all flights, the ministry added. There was no immediate word on any casualties.

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.

The airport has been a major conduit for aid flights since a February 6 earthquake devastated swathes of southeastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria, and they too were brought to a stop, a transport ministry official said.

More than 80 aid flights have landed in Aleppo over the past month with relief supplies for quake-hit areas, transport ministry official Suleiman Khalil told AFP.

"It is no longer possible to receive aid flights until the damage has been repaired," he added.

He 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.

There was no comment from Israeli officials. 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 attacked Aleppo airport several times in recent years, with a strike last September putting it out of service for a few days.

On February 19, Israeli airstrikes targeted residential areas in Syria’s capital, Damascus, killing at least five people and wounding 15, according to Syrian state news.

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

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