DAMASCUS: Israeli air strikes on Aleppo airport in northern Syria caused the grounding of flights today, Syrian state news agency Sana reported, citing a military source.
During more than 12 years of civil war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.
“At about 4.30am this morning, the Israeli enemy undertook an aerial aggression from the direction of the Mediterranean west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport,” the source said, adding that this resulted in damage to the runway.
Israel rarely comments on strikes it carries out in Syria, but has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-foe Iran to expand its presence in the country.
An Israeli army spokesman today told AFP: “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”
Syrian transport ministry official Suleiman Khalil said the damage centred on the only functioning runway, adding that “maintenance teams will start repair work today to return the airport to service as quickly as possible”.
Flights were diverted to Damascus and Latakia airports, he told AFP.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes also targeted weapons depots at the adjacent Nayrab military airport.
Israeli strikes have repeatedly caused the grounding of flights at the airports in Aleppo and the capital Damascus, both of which are controlled by the government.
In early May, Israeli strikes on the Aleppo area killed four Syrian officers and three Iran-backed fighters and forced a halt to flights, according to the war monitor.
Israeli strikes put the airport out of service twice in March.