BEIRUT — The Israeli army fired missiles at the Syrian capital’s international airport on Monday morning, knocking it out of service and killing two soldiers and wounding two others, the Syrian army said.
The attack, which occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday, was the second in seven months to knock out Damascus International Airport. It caused material damage in a nearby area, the army said, without giving further details.
The Syrian Transport Ministry said work to repair the damage began immediately and later Monday some flights resumed while work continued on other parts of the airport.
Israel has targeted airports and ports in government-controlled parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms deliveries from Iran to Tehran-backed militant groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
An opposition war monitor reported that the Israeli strikes hit the airport as well as an arms depot near the facility south of Damascus. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed in the strike.
The conflicting reports could not be immediately reconciled.
The Observatory said the runway used for civilian flights has been repaired while another, used for cargo transport, remains out of service. This track is also used by Iranian-backed groups, the Observatory added.
Later Monday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the strikes were “part of a series of Israeli crimes” targeting Syria. The ministry, in a statement, called on the UN Security Council to condemn “Israeli crimes and aggressions”, adding that those responsible should be held accountable and such attacks should not be repeated.
There was no comment from Israel.
Syrian state television reported that the private Cham Wings had resumed flights while flight tracking website Flightradar24 showed that a flight by the private Iraqi Fly Baghdad from the Iraqi city of Najaf was on the way. to land around 9 a.m. in Damascus.
On June 10, Israeli airstrikes that hit Damascus International Airport caused significant damage to infrastructure and runways. It reopened two weeks later after repairs.
In September, Israeli airstrikes hit the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and once commercial hub, also knocking it out of service for days.
In late 2021, Israeli warplanes fired missiles that hit the port of Latakia, hitting containers and starting a huge fire.
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
Israel, however, has acknowledged that it was targeting bases of militant groups allied with Iran, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters have joined Syria’s 11-year civil war and helped tip the balance of power in Assad’s favor.
Israel says an Iranian presence on its northern border is a red line that justifies its strikes against facilities and weapons inside Syria.
. fire israeli missiles take out of service airport damascus