Israel strike hits near Aleppo Airport – Syria officials – Middle East Monitor

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An Israeli airstrike hit near Syria’s Aleppo Airport early Wednesday, causing “material damage” and shutting down operations there, Syrian officials said, while regional intelligence sources said the attack hit an Iranian army depot, Reuters reports.

Israel has carried out attacks for years against targets linked to Iran in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar Al-Assad in the civil war that began in 2011.

In the third attack on Aleppo Airport in six months, Israel “launched several missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, west of the coastal city of Latakia, at 3:55 am”, the Syrian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on state media.

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The strike put the airport out of service and crews were working on repairs, Bassem Mansour, head of Syria’s civil aviation service, told local media. Sham FM.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment.

Two regional intelligence sources said the strike hit an underground ammunition depot linked to the nearby Nairab Military Airport, where missile systems delivered to several Iranian military planes were stored.

Over the past year, pro-Iranian militias have expanded their influence in northern Syria’s Aleppo province, where they maintain several large bases and provide extensive support to local paramilitary groups operating there, the two sources added.

Nairab Military Airport is regularly used for Iranian arms deliveries and troop movement, the intelligence sources said. They declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Iran has increased its use of the airport to deliver more weapons in the past month, taking advantage of heavy air traffic as cargo planes unload relief aid after February’s deadly earthquake, three Western intelligence sources say.

An Israeli strike on March 7 put Aleppo Airport out of service for hours after an Iranian arms shipment was delivered by a plane Damascus said was carrying aid, Western intelligence sources say.

Syria has said the strikes, criticized by its biggest backers Russia and Iran, were disrupting much-needed aid for earthquake victims.

Damascus denies allegations that Iran, whose top military officials often visit Syria and has signed deals to supply advanced weapons, has an extensive military presence in the country.

Israel has stepped up strikes on Syrian airports and air bases, in particular, to disrupt Iran’s use of air supply lines to deliver weapons to its allies, including Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, which also deployed fighters to support Assad.

Fighters linked to Iran, including Hezbollah, hold sway in vast areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria and in various suburbs around the capital.

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