Syria says IAF strikes briefly put Damascus airport out of service, kill 2 soldiers
Jerusalem does not generally comment on strikes, but is believed to have struck the airport in the past to counter Iran’s smuggling of arms to its regional proxies
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
The Israeli airforce carried out a strike on Sunday night targeting Damascus International Airport that put it out of service temporarily, killed two soldiers and wounded two others, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.
A military source cited by SANA said that around 2 a.m., Israel carried out an air attack with “barrages of missiles, targeting Damascus International Airport and its surroundings.”
The attack caused “the death of two soldiers… putting Damascus International Airport out of service,” it said.
In a later statement, the Syrian transportation ministry said the airport would re-open at 9:00 a.m., after authorities removed “damage caused by the Israeli aggression” and conducted repairs to damaged sites.
According to an official notice sent by Syrian aviation authorities, one runway at Damascus airport was still unusable, while the second had been shortened by 500 meters as a result of the strike — preventing large planes from landing.
Satellite imagery showed that one runway appeared to have been struck multiple times, while the other was targeted with just one missile.
There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, which does not generally confirm such raids on an individual basis.
Last June airstrikes attributed to Israel struck Damascus International Airport, causing significant damage and rendering the main runway unserviceable. The airport opened two weeks later following repairs.
Strikes at the airport were reported in previous years as well.
Generally, relatively large weapons are thought to be smuggled via Syria on Iranian cargo airlines, which frequently land at Damascus International and the Tiyas, or T-4, airbase, outside of the central Syrian city of Palmyra.
The weaponry is then believed to be stored in warehouses in the area before being trucked to Lebanon.
Israel in recent months has also targeted the Aleppo International Airport several times, according to Syria.
As a rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country.
The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.
The last strikes in Syria attributed to Israel were on December 19 and 20, when a secret Hezbollah drone site near the northwestern Syrian city of Homs was reportedly targeted, and several other sites in the Damascus area were hit.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.