Aid flights to Aleppo re-routed after Israeli strike on airport, Syria says

The attack also reportedly caused 'material damage'

Aleppo International Airport. AFP
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An Israeli air strike hit Aleppo airport on Tuesday, putting it out of service and causing disruption to aid flow, Syrian state media reported.

Israel “carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport”, state news agency Sana reported. It said the strike caused "material damage”.

It did not immediately report any casualties.

"All humanitarian aid flights for earthquake victims as well as scheduled flights are now being diverted to Damascus and Latakia airports," Sana said, citing the Ministry of Transport.

"The ministry called for passengers to make arrangements accordingly."

Israeli officials have not yet commented on the strike.

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 acknowledged, however, that it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support President Bashar Al Assad’s forces.

Aleppo, which suffered widespread destruction in Syria's civil war, was again heavily damaged in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake last month.

A number of countries have since sent aid shipments to the city's airport.

An aircraft carrying humanitarian aid relief packages provided by the UAE for victims of the February 6 earthquake arrives at Aleppo International Airport in February 14. Sana

On February 9, Israeli air strikes targeted residential areas in Syria’s capital, Damascus, killing at least five people and wounding 15, the news agency reported.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights called the February strike “the deadliest Israeli attack in the Syrian capital” since the civil war began.

Wael Alwan, director of information at the Syrian research centre Jusoor, earlier told The National that the strike could be part of Israeli attempts to disrupt the flow of weapons from Iran to Syria, which may have picked up after the earthquake under the guise of aid for victims in regime areas.

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

Updated: March 07, 2023, 9:16 AM