Israel’s missile strikes put Damascus airport out of service

Beirut — Israel’s military fired missiles at Syria’s capital’s international airport early Monday, putting it out of service and killing two soldiers and wounding two others, the Syrian military said.

The attack, which took place shortly after midnight on Sunday, was the second in seven months that Damascus International Airport has been out of action. It caused material damage in the vicinity, the military said, without giving further details.

Syria’s transport ministry said work to repair the damage began immediately and by late Monday, some flights had resumed and work was continuing in other areas of the airport.

Israel has targeted airports and seaports in government-held areas of Syria in an apparent attempt to block arms shipments from Iran to Tehran-backed militant groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

An opposition war monitor reported that Israeli strikes hit an airport and a weapons depot south of Damascus. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed in the attack.

Conflicting reports could not be immediately resolved.

The observatory said the runway used for civilian flights has been repaired, while another used for cargo transport is out of service. That runway is also used by Iran-backed groups, the Observatory added.

Later on Monday, Syria’s foreign ministry said the attacks were “part of a series of Israeli crimes” targeting Syria. The ministry, in a statement, called on the UN to condemn “Israeli crimes and aggressions”.

There was no comment from Israel.

Private Sam Wings resumed flights when flight-tracking website Flightradar24 showed that the flight from Iraq’s private Fly Baghdad Iraqi city of Najaf was about to land in Damascus around 9 a.m., Syrian state television reported.

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On June 10, Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus International Airport, causing significant damage to infrastructure and runways. It reopened two weeks later after repairs.

In September, Israeli airstrikes hit the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and once a commercial hub.

In late 2021, Israeli warplanes launched missiles that hit the port of Latakia, hitting containers and starting a massive fire.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-held areas of Syria in recent years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such actions.

However, Israel has acknowledged that it has targeted the bases of militant groups allied to Iran, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Thousands of Iran-backed fighters have joined Syria’s 11-year civil war and helped tip the balance of power in Assad’s favor.

Israel says the Iranian presence along its northern border is a red line justifying its attacks on facilities and weapons inside Syria.

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