Syria: new Israeli strike on Aleppo airport, an arms depot targeted
Aleppo airport in northern Syria was targeted on Wednesday by a new Israeli strike that put it out of service, an attack targeting in particular an arms depot belonging to pro-Iranian groups, according to an NGO.
According to the Syrian Defense Ministry, the strike that targeted the airport of Syria's second city at dawn only caused material damage.
“Around 3:55 a.m. (0:55 GMT ), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault using several missiles from the Mediterranean, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport,” the ministry said in a statement.
The strike “caused damage to the airport runways and some are out of service,” Souleiman Khalil, an official at the Ministry of Transport, told AFP.
The Department of Transport later announced that due to damage to runways and some facilities, “the airport has been taken out of service until repair operations are completed.”
All flights have been diverted to Damascus and Latakia airports, according to the ministry.
Aleppo airport was used in particular for the delivery of international humanitarian aid to Aleppo, hard hit by the earthquake that devastated several regions of Syria and neighboring Turkey on February 6.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), a UK-based NGO with an extensive network of sources in Syria, the strike targeted “the airport and an arms depot of pro- -Iranians near” the airport.
This arms depot “has been completely destroyed”, added the Observatory.
Groups reporting to Iran and its allies have great influence in Aleppo, where they helped government forces regain full control of the city in December 2016, alongside the Russian military.
< p>Second strike in two weeks
Questioned by AFP about Wednesday's strike, the Israeli army said, as usual, “not to comment on foreign media reports.”
This is the second time that Aleppo airport has been targeted by Israel this March. On March 7, a raid killed three people and put the airport out of service, according to the OSDH.
More than 80 planes loaded with humanitarian aid have landed at this airport since the earthquake, which killed nearly 6,000 people in Syria, according to the Ministry of Transport.
Aleppo airport, the second largest in the country, had already remained closed three days after an Israeli strike in September, according to official sources.
In early January, strikes also targeted the airport of Damascus, the capital, aiming according to the 'positions of Hezbollah and pro-Iranian groups'.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, targeting regime positions as well as Iranian and Hezbollah forces Lebanese, allies of Damascus and sworn enemies of Israel.
Israel, a neighboring country of Syria, rarely comments on the strikes on a case-by-case basis, but says it wants to prevent Iran from establishing itself on its doorstep .
Triggered by the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations, the war in Syria has left an estimated 500,000 dead, devastating damaged the country's infrastructure and displaced millions of people.