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Syria’s Aleppo airport to reopen following alleged Israeli strikes

Syria says repairs completed at country’s second-largest airport; Damascus warns Israel is ‘playing with fire’ and risking a wider military conflict

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the damage after an alleged Israeli strike targeting the Aleppo International Airport in Aleppo, Syria, September 7, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the damage after an alleged Israeli strike targeting the Aleppo International Airport in Aleppo, Syria, September 7, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

DAMASCUS, Syria — Flights were to resume from Aleppo on Friday after repairs were carried out on Syria’s second-largest airport following an air strike earlier this week blamed on Israel.

Damage to the main runway in Tuesday’s raid had put the airport out of service but the transport ministry said repairs had now been completed and the airport was ready to reopen.

In a statement carried out by the state SANA news agency, the ministry said that air traffic would resume from midday (0900 GMT).

The strike, which Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said targeted a warehouse used by Iran-backed militias, was the second to hit the airport in just a week.

There were no reports of injuries in the latest attack.

Since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against its northern neighbor, targeting government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

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. It says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanese Hezbollah.

A purported image shared online shows damage after an alleged Israeli strike targeted the Aleppo International Airport, September 6, 2022. (Social media)

Aleppo is a major city in northern Syria, near its border with Turkey, and is an uncommon — though not unprecedented — target for reported Israeli airstrikes.

On Thursday, Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad issued a harsh warning to Israel over the airstrikes. He said Israel was “playing with fire” and risking a wider military conflict.

The Syrian foreign ministry accused Israel of a “war crime according to international law” over the latest airstrikes and said it “must be held to account for it.”

Earlier this year, airstrikes attributed to Israel caused major damage to the Damascus International Airport, halting all air traffic for two weeks.

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.

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