Early in the morning of Tuesday, March 7, an Israeli airstrike damaged parts of Aleppo international airport in Syria. This will affect aid delivery to one of Syria’s provinces worst-affected by last month’s earthquake.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted an unnamed Syrian military source, according to whom, at around 2 am on Tuesday, “the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial act of aggression from the direction of the Mediterranean, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, which led to material damage at the airport as it went out of service.”
Though there have been no reports of casualties yet, SANA noted in a tweet that due to the damage, Syria’s Transport Ministry had decided to shift all humanitarian aid planes and scheduled flights from Aleppo airport to Damascus airport.
Aleppo is one of the four provinces in Syria most affected by last month’s earthquake (the other three were Latakia, Idlib, and Hama), which killed over 50,000 people in total in both Turkey and Syria. In Syria alone, close to 6,000 people were killed.
Aleppo airport was being used to transport international aid to the earthquake-affected areas in Syria’s northwest. Damascus is more than 224 miles away from Aleppo, which may affect the speed of aid delivery.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its role in the airstrike so far.
Israel frequently violates Syrian and Lebanese airspace and carries out attacks within Syria. It has carried out hundreds of such attacks inside Syria since the beginning of the war in the country in 2011. Hundreds of Syrians have been killed in these attacks, which have also caused large-scale destruction and damage to infrastructure in the war-ravaged country.
At least five Syrians were killed in a similar Israeli attack in the civilian areas of capital Damascus on February 19.
An Israeli airstrike in early January had partially damaged the Damascus international airport and killed two Syrian soldiers. The damage to the airport also affected aid and rescue operations in the country after the February 6 earthquake as it was not fully operational at the time.
Israel usually does not acknowledge those attacks. On the rare occasions when it does, it tries to justify them by terming them ‘defensive’ operations allegedly targeting supposed Iranian military presence in Syria.
Both Iran and Syria have contested such claims. The Syrian government, on previous occasions, has accused Israel of trying to prolong the war in the country by aiding rebel forces through these airstrikes. Syria has also filed several complaints in the UNSC asking that action be taken against Israel