Satellite images show damage from Israeli strike on Syrian airport

Syria's foreign minister says Israel is 'playing with fire' after air strikes on Wednesday evening

Vehicles gather around the site of one of the strikes at the  Aleppo International Airport, in Syria. Photo: Planet Labs
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Syria's foreign minister warned Israel on Thursday it was “playing with fire” after it launched missile attacks on the country this week.

Strikes near Damascus and on Aleppo's international airport on Wednesday evening left a hole on the runway and damaged a section of tarmac and a structure on the military side of the airfield, satellite photos analysed by AP showed on Friday.

Air defences shot down other Israeli missiles around the capital.

Faisal Al Meqdad said Israel was threatening the security of the region with its air strikes.

“Israel is playing with fire and is putting the regional military and security situations at risk of an explosion,” the foreign minister was quoted by state news agency Sana as saying.

“Syria will not remain silent regarding the repeated Israeli attacks and the Israelis will pay the price sooner or later.”

Satellite photos taken on Thursday by Planet Labs PBC showed vehicles gathered around the site of one of the strikes at the airport, near the western edge of its sole runway.

The strike left a hole on the runway and ignited a grassfire at the airfield.

South of the runway damage, debris lay scattered after another strike hit an object on the tarmac and another structure.

The Israeli air strike left a hole on the runway and damaged a section of tarmac and a structure on the military side of the airport in Aleppo. Photo: Planet Labs

Syria has dual-use airports that include civilian and military areas.

Flights at the airport were disrupted by the attack, AP reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said immediately after the strike that Israela aimed at an Iranian missile shipment to the Aleppo airport.

Iran, as well as Lebanon’s allied Hezbollah militant group, have helped Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to remain in power since a civil war began in 2011.

Ping from US-sanctioned aircraft

Shortly before the strike, a transponder on an Antonov An-74 cargo plane, flown by Iran’s Yas Air, briefly pinged near Aleppo, according to flight-tracking data. The altitude and location suggested the plane planned to land in Aleppo.

The aircraft was sanctioned years earlier by the US Treasury over flying weapons on behalf of Iran's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Cargo aircraft over Syria often do not broadcast their location data.

Israel did not directly acknowledge Wednesday’s strike.

The country has carried out a series of strikes in Syria in recent years, mainly aimed at convoys allegedly carrying weapons or sites housing munitions belonging to allied fighters from Iran.

In June, Syria blamed Israel for aerial attacks on its main international airport in Damascus that put it out of commission for several weeks.

A runway damaged by an Israeli strike, which resulted in the Damascus International Airport being forced to shut down. AFP

Israeli defence officials said the civilian airport had been used regularly by Iran to transport weapons and militias.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday said one person was killed while three were wounded in Israel's shelling of Damascus.

Two Israeli missiles were aimed at Syrian military sites where Hezbollah-affiliated militias were present, it said.

Updated: September 02, 2022, 10:17 AM
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