Damascus airport briefly out of service after Israeli strike

Four soldiers were killed in an Israeli missile strike on Damascus International Airport early Monday, the Syrian military said. Services were suspended as a result.

The Syrian Army reported that missiles hit the airport, southeast of Damascus, at 2 a.m.

Earlier, two regional intelligence sources told Reuters the strikes had hit an outpost near the airport of Iran’s Quds Force and the militias it backs.

Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force is responsible for intelligence and military operations outside Iran. Its presence has grown in Syria since the country’s civil war began in 2011.

No immediate comment was provided by the Israeli military on Wednesday’s strike, though it has acknowledged targeting hundreds of Iran-linked assets in the country.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi admitted last month that Israel had targeted an Iranian weapons convoy travelling from Iraq to Syria in November. The convoy crossed through a border post controlled by Iran-backed militias operating in both countries.

There are several air defence facilities and Iran-linked facilities in Damascus airport and nearby areas.
Western intelligence says Iran-linked groups are particularly strong around Damascus and its suburbs, where they have underground bases.

To disrupt Iran’s increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to Syria and Lebanon, Israel has repeatedly hit Damascus airport and other Syrian targets.

In June, Syrian airports were damaged by Israeli strikes, resulting in flights being cancelled for nearly two weeks. In September, Aleppo airport was also attacked, forcing it to close for several days.

Iran’s involvement in Syria’s civil war has been hidden by the Syrian government, which has claimed that Iran only has military advisers in the country.


Image Credit: Jack Guez/AFP