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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Israeli strikes put Damascus airport out of service again

"Israeli warplanes on Sunday afternoon carried out a new raid targeting Damascus International Airport... putting it out of service again," said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Israeli air strikes Sunday made Damascus airport inoperable just hours after flights resumed following a similar attack last month, a war monitor said, as state media also reported the attack.

“Israeli warplanes on Sunday afternoon carried out a new raid targeting Damascus International Airport… putting it out of service again,” said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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It said the raid targeted the runways, and also reported the sound of an explosion from the direction of a military airport in the Mazzeh area on the other side of Damascus.

An officer and two other personnel were wounded in the strike that targeted “an air defence forces base in the Mazzeh area”, the Observatory added later.

A military source said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA that at around 4:50 pm (1350 GMT), “the Zionist enemy carried out an air attack with missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan”.

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The raid targeted “Damascus international airport and some points in the Damascus countryside”, putting the airport out of service and causing “some material losses”, it said.

Air defences “destroyed most” of the missiles, the statement added.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

But it has intensified attacks since the war between Israel and Hamas, a Hezbollah ally, began on October 7.

Israeli strikes on Damascus Airport and Aleppo airport in the north on October 12 and October 22 put both facilities out of service.

Two ticketing offices in the capital had told AFP flights had resumed from Damascus on Sunday, and local media also reported the resumption, but authorities had yet to make an official announcement.

Flights were re-routed to Latakia on the west coast after the October 22 strikes.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes targeting Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow arch-foe Iran, which backs President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to expand its presence there.