Israel missiles hit arms depot in Syria’s Aleppo airport: monitor

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An Israeli missile strike destroyed a suspected weapons depot used by Iran-backed militias at Syria’s Aleppo airport on Wednesday, a war monitor said, and authorities said the raid put the airport out of service.

It was the second such attack in the past month on the airport in Syria’s second city, which has been a major route for relief flights since the February 6 earthquake devastated northern Syria and neighboring Turkey.

The pre-dawn strike targeting a compound and weapons depot at the airport “completely destroyed” the storage facility, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that relies on a network of sources on the ground in the war. -torn. country

Since the start of civil war in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against its neighbour, mainly targeting positions of the Syrian army and its allies Iran and Hezbollah.

Iran-backed militias have a heavy presence in the Aleppo region after providing important ground support to the army as it recaptured rebel-held areas of the city in 2016.

After Wednesday’s strike, the Syrian defense ministry reported “damage” at Aleppo airport, without mentioning any casualties.

“Around 3:55 am (0055 GMT), the enemy of Israel carried out an air attack… targeting the international airport of Aleppo, resulting in some material damage,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Several missiles” were fired from the Mediterranean west of the coastal city of Latakia, he said.

The transport ministry said the strikes damaged the runway and airport equipment, forcing all flights to be diverted to Damascus or Latakia on the Mediterranean coast.

– Quake relief proposal –

The Israeli military rarely comments on individual strikes against Syria, but has repeatedly vowed to continue its air campaign to stop arch enemy Iran from consolidating its presence.

On Wednesday he said “we do not comment on foreign media reports”, the standard response of the Israeli military when asked about such strikes.

However, in a separate statement on Wednesday evening, he said on Twitter that one of his drones went down in Syria during a routine operation. The army said there was no risk of information leakage due to the incident.

Previous strikes on Israel have halted flights using the airport after the runway was damaged.

On March 7, three people were killed in an Israeli strike on the airport that halted air traffic, including relief flights. The airport reopened three days later.

By then more than 80 aid flights had landed in Aleppo with relief supplies after the earthquake, according to the Transport Ministry.

Israel has attacked Aleppo and Damascus airports several times in recent years.

A strike on Aleppo airport in September put it out of service for several days. That attack targeted a warehouse used by an Iranian-backed militia, the Observatory said at the time.

Earlier this month, Israeli airstrikes targeting a weapons depot in Syria killed an army officer and two pro-Iranian fighters, the Observatory said.

Last month, an Israeli airstrike killed 15 people in a housing area of ​​state security agencies in Damascus.

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