Iran threatens to retaliate against Israel after strike on Aleppo airport

‘Criminal practices’ will not go without a response, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian vows during visit to Damascus

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, center, waves as he stands with Hezbollah members and lawmakers  in southern Lebanon near the Israel border on April 28, 2023. (AP/Mohammed Zaatari)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, center, waves as he stands with Hezbollah members and lawmakers in southern Lebanon near the Israel border on April 28, 2023. (AP/Mohammed Zaatari)

DAMASCUS, Syria — Iran’s foreign minister warned Wednesday that Israel would eventually face retribution following an alleged airstrike on the international airport of the Syrian city of Aleppo, after over a decade of such attacks.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made his comments during a news conference in the Syrian capital, Damascus, where he was beginning a two-day visit.

On Monday, an airstrike attributed to Israel damaged Aleppo’s airport, putting the runway out of service. The airport has been targeted several times this year, including two attacks in March that also put it out of service.

“I would like to strongly condemn the brutal attacks by the fake Israeli regime on Aleppo airport and other civilian areas in Syria,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“The criminal practices by the Zionist entity in the region will not remain without retaliation,” he added.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria since 2011. While Israel’s military does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country, over the last decade.

Tehran has been a main backer of the Syrian government since a 2011 uprising turned into full-blown civil war. It has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to Syria, helping to tip the balance of power in the favor of President Bashar Assad.

The Israeli military says it attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

There were no reports of injuries in the Aleppo strike.

It would be the fifth time in under a year that alleged Israeli strikes have put the Aleppo airport out of service, with a similar attack taking place in May 2023, two in March of this year, and one in September 2022.

Israel is believed to be targeting Syria’s airports to counter Iran’s growing use of commercial flights to bring military supplies into the country, which are later trucked into Lebanon to be used by the Hezbollah terror group.

A screenshot from Twitter showing a fire at Aleppo airport following an alleged Israeli airstrike, March 7, 2023. (Screenshot/Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The last alleged Israeli sortie over Syria was carried out on August 21, when fighter jets reportedly carried out strikes against targets in Damascus, wounding one Syrian soldier.

Amir-Abdollahian also said he had received a message from his Danish counterpart who informed him about plans by the Danish government to propose a law that would make it illegal to desecrate any holy book in Denmark. A recent string of public desecrations of the Quran in the Scandinavian country by a handful of anti-Islam activists has sparked angry demonstrations in Muslim countries.

“We welcome this move and we advise Sweden and other European countries to respect religions and holy books,” Amirabdollahian said.

For Muslims, the burning of the Quran represents a desecration of their religion’s holy text. In the past, Quran burnings have sparked protests across the Muslim world, some of them violent.

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