Israel attack on Syria’s Aleppo airport damaged runway, satellite images show

The attack of Wednesday night on Aleppo International Airport comes as an Israeli strike only months earlier took out the runway at the country’s main airport in the capital, Damascus

September 02, 2022 02:15 pm | Updated 02:15 pm IST - Dubai

Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. | Photo Credit: AFP

An Israeli attack targeting a Syrian airport tore a hole in the runway and also damaged a nearby piece of tarmac and structure on the military side of the airfield, satellite photos analysed on Friday by AP showed.

The attack of Wednesday night on Aleppo International Airport comes as an Israeli strike only months earlier took out the runway at the country’s main airport in the capital, Damascus, over Iranian weapons transfers to the country.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency acknowledged the attack on Wednesday, without offering details on the damage or what was targeted.

The 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 tore a hole through the runway, as well as ignited a grassfire at the airfield.

Just south of the runway damage on the military side of the airport, debris lay scattered after another strike that struck an object on the tarmac and another structure.

Syria, like many Middle East nations, has dual-use airports that include civilian and military sides. Flights at the airport have been disrupted by the attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based opposition war monitor, alleged immediately after the strike that Israel targeted an Iranian missile shipment to the Aleppo airport.

Iran, as well as Lebanon’s allied Hezbollah militant group, has been crucial to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad remaining in power since a war began in his country amid the 2011 Arab Spring.

Just before the strike, a transponder on an Antonov An-74 cargo plane flown by Iran’s Yas Air sanctioned years earlier by the U.S. Treasury over flying weapons on behalf of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard briefly pinged near Aleppo, according to flight-tracking data.

The altitude and location suggested the plane planned to land in Aleppo.

Cargo aircraft over Syria often don’t broadcast their location data. A phone number listed to Yas Air rang unanswered on Friday.

Iran and Syria’s missions to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday from The Associated Press. Israel, which has conducted numerous attacks on Syria in its shadow war with Iran in the wider Mideast, has not directly acknowledged Wednesday’s strike.

The strike comes as tensions across the wider Mideast remain high as negotiations over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers hang in the balance. 

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