A major Israeli attack on the Syrian capital has killed two soldiers and wounded two others, and has put the country’s main international airport temporarily out of commission.
The early Monday morning attack reportedly involved Israeli jets firing two missiles at Damascus International Airport, causing significant enough to damage to force the airport’s closure while it undergoes repairs. The timing is interesting given the new Netanyahu government was just sworn-in at the end of last week, and is filled with hardline anti-Iran hawks who will likely escalate the proxy war across the region.
“It caused material damage in a nearby area, the army said, without giving further details,” the Associated Press reports. “Syria’s Ministry of Transport said work to repair the damage began immediately and later Monday, some flights resumed while work in other parts of the airport continued.”
It’s the second time in a year that Damascus International Airport has suffered closure due to Israeli attack, and it’s unclear if Syria’s anti-air defense measures, part of which has been supplied by Russia, deployed in response.
The AP further reviews that typically the Israeli media and official explanation is ostensibly that Israel is targeting Iranian and Hezbollah arms shipments and personnel inside Syria.
“Israel has targeted airports and ports in government-held parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms shipments from Iran to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah,” AP writes.
In the north, Israel has also targeted Aleppo International Airport in the recent past, with multiple strikes which had put it out of operation temporarily in September.
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The United Nations has at times condemned the airport attacks, for example last June highlighting that airstrikes had forced the suspension of vital humanitarian aid deliveries. A statement had called the halted aid flights an “extremely serious” matter.
More broadly, the Syrian population continues to suffer the strangulation effects of US-led sanctions, with lack of fuel, heating gas, and food – and amid a collapsed post-war economy, a cratering currency and runaway inflation.