DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — An Israeli airstrike early Wednesday targeted the international airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, causing material damage and putting it out of service, Syria's state news agency reported. It was the second attack on the facility this month.
SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying Israeli warplanes fired the missiles toward Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once commercial center, while flying over the Mediterranean Sea. It did not mention any casualties.
Bassem Mansour, head of Syria's civil aviation, told the pro-government Sham FM radio station the strike damaged the airport's runway and put the facility out of service. Repair work has started, he said, adding thet “the airport will resume work within a short period.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said that in addition the airport, the airstrike also destroyed a nearby arms depot of Iran-backed militiamen.
The airport has been a key channel for the flow of aid into the country after the Feb. 6 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing over 50,000 people, including more than 6,000 in Syria.
Earlier this month, an Israeli airstrike put the airport out of service for several days and flights were rerouted to two other airports in war-torn Syria until the damage was fixed.
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 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 Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Along with airports, Israel has also targeted seaports in government-held areas, an apparent attempt to prevent Iranian arms shipments to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Hezbollah.
Late on Wednesday, the Israeli military said a drone crashed in Syria while on a “routine operation.” It said no sensitive information had been lost and it was investigating the incident.