According to the Syrian transport ministry, Aleppo airport has been forced to halt all flights following an Israeli airstrike that took place this morning.
Syria’s second biggest city of Aleppo has been under immense pressure in recent weeks following the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and neighbouring Turkey, adding to further destruction brought upon the country after a decade-long civil war.
Just before daybreak this morning, Syrian state media reported that Israeli fighter planes launched strikes on Aleppo airport. The subsequent damage forced the Syrian authorities to stop all flights coming in and out of the airport.
Following the powerful earthquake that erupted on the 6th of February, huge areas of southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria have been devastated, leading to an unprecedented demand for humanitarian aid.
“A beat-up Toyota bakery van stopped in Aleppo to give me free pastries. For a moment, it was easy to forget where I was. Twenty minutes later, whilst exploring Aleppo Fortress, I saw two Turkish airstrikes hit Kurdish positions on the horizon.”– IS SYRIA SAFE? CRUCIAL ADVICE FOR TRAVELING TO SYRIA IN 2023.
With Aleppa at the epicentre of Syria’s crisis zone, the airport has formed one of the country’s main hubs for international aid to the country. But following the airstrike, this aid has now come to a halt.
According to Syrian state media (SANA), citing a military source, an official of the country’s transport ministry said the following:
“At exactly 2:07 am (2307 GMT Monday), the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the Mediterranean west of Latakia targeting Aleppo international airport,” the SANA state news agency reported, citing a military source.
In an interview with AFP, transport ministry official Suleiman Khalil said that over the past thirty days, the airport in Aleppo has seen more than 80 flights delivering humanitarian relief land to provide vital support for areas affected by the earthquake.
At the time of writing, there has been no word on the number of potential casualties the strike at Aleppo airport caused, but all flights in and out of the airport have been brought to a halt until relevant repairs are completed.
Why has Israel Launched an Airstrike on Aleppo Airport?
Following the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the Israeli government has launched hundreds of air attacks against neighbouring Syria.
The main reason for the attacks is largely to strike Syrian Arab Army positions as well as those of its allied Shia forces from Iran and Hezbollah stationed in the country. It’s a conflict that spiralled from being a proxy war into direct confrontations.
Since 2013, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran-backed forces in Syria has killed hundreds, including a sizeable portion of civilians.
However, when it comes to the specifics behind each individual airstrike, it’s rare to hear comments from the Israeli military aside from the broad vow to maintain a repeated campaign of airstrikes on the country in order to hinder Iran from consolidating its presence in Syria. The main reason for this is thought to be an Israeli attempt to discourage the Syrian regime from retaliating against them for said airstrikes.
This morning’s attack on Aleppo airport follows a recent deadly Israeli airstrike that was launched on a densely populated urban area in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The attack killed fifteen people and was one of the deadliest air attacks the city has seen.
A month before that, another Israeli airstrike hit the main airport in Damascus and killed four people and put the airport out of service for the second time in twelve months. Israeli declined to comment on the reasons for both.