BEIRUT: Israeli air strikes on Sunday made Damascus airport inoperable just hours after flights had resumed following a similar attack last month, a war monitor said, as state media also reported the attack.
“Israeli warplanes on Sunday afternoon carried out a new raid targeting Damascus international airport… putting it out of service again,” said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It said the raid targeted the runways, and reported the sound of an explosion from the direction of a military airport elsewhere in the capital.
A military source, in a statement carried by state news agency SANA, said, “The Zionist enemy carried out an air attack with missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan” at around 4:50pm (1350 GMT).
Air defences “destroyed most” of the missiles, the statement added.
The raid targeted “Damascus international airport and some points in the Damascus countryside”, putting the airport out of service and causing ‘some material losses’, it pointed out. Syrian newspaper Al Watan said flights scheduled to arrive in Syria’s capital are being diverted to airports in Latakia and Aleppo.
Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour since 2011, claiming to have targeted Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.
Israeli strikes on Damascus airport and Aleppo airport in the north on Oct 12 and Oct 22 put both facilities out of service.
Two ticketing offices in the capital had told AFP flights had resumed from Damascus on Sunday, and local media also reported the resumption, but authorities had yet to make an official announcement.
Israel rarely comments on individual strikes targeting Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow arch-foe Iran, which backs President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to expand its presence there.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023