Before dawn on Friday, the Israeli air force bombed the airport located in the south of the Syrian capital, damaging buildings and putting the airstrips out of service.
“Civil aviation and competent national companies are working (…) to repair the significant damage,” the Syrian Ministry of Transport said in a statement, adding that air traffic, suspended on Friday, will resume as soon as the work is completed. and airport security ensured.
This is not the first time that Damascus airport has been targeted by Israel, but the suspension of flights is rare.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an airstrip was damaged and disabled in 2021 after an Israeli raid targeting depots belonging to pro-Iranian militias near the airport.
– Arms depots –
On May 20, Israeli surface-to-surface missiles killed at least three Syrian officers near Damascus, according to the OSDH. A fire broke out near the airport after the attack, where ambulances were seen rushing to the site of the strikes, according to the same source.
According to the NGO, the attack on Friday hit the only runway still in service at the airport, as well as several adjacent buildings.
“The airstrip, the control tower, three hangars, depots and reception rooms were seriously damaged by the Israeli strikes,” said the OSDH, which has a vast network of sources in Syria. .
According to the Observatory, some reception rooms are used to receive senior Iranian officials and Lebanese Hezbollah members while the depots are used to store weapons from Iran.
Still according to the same source, which reported an unknown number of wounded, the Israeli missiles fired Friday towards the airport targeted depots belonging to Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian forces.
Satellite images posted on Twitter show three separate areas of damage on each of the airport’s two runways, one military and one civilian.
– “Unacceptable violation” –
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Mokdad received a call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, according to the official Sana news agency, which reported that the two men condemned the Israeli aggression.
Syria “will defend itself by all legitimate means” against Israeli attacks and continue its fight against terrorism, Mokdad said.
“The continued Israeli bombardment of Syrian territory is an absolutely unacceptable violation of international standards,” the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday evening. Moscow strongly condemns “Israel’s provocative attack on essential civilian infrastructure” which put “innocent lives at risk”.
Israel very rarely comments on each of its raids in Syria, but admits to having carried out hundreds of airstrikes there since the start of the war in its neighbor in 2011.
Israeli authorities say they will not allow sworn enemy Iran to extend its influence to Israel’s borders.
With the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, another pet peeve of Israel, Iran is helping the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad militarily in the war.
Triggered by the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations, the war in Syria has claimed around 500,000 lives, devastated the country’s infrastructure and displaced millions of people.