|Aleppo international airport, Syria. Reuters|
DELTASION.com – On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, an Israeli airstrike
hit near Syria’s Aleppo airport, causing “material damage” and halting
operations there, according to Syrian officials. Meanwhile, a regional
intelligence source claims the strike hit an Iranian weapons depot. This
attack marks the third time in six months that Israel has targeted the
Aleppo airport, which is located in northern Syria, close to the border with
Background: Iran’s Growing Influence in Syria
Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, Iran has been supporting
President Bashar al Assad and his regime. Over the years, Israel has
launched multiple attacks on what it describes as Iran-linked targets in
Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown significantly.
Israel’s Airstrike on Aleppo Airport
According to the Syrian defense ministry, Israel launched “a number of
missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, west of the coastal city of Latakia, at
3.55 am” on March 22. The attack caused damage to the airport, and teams are
currently working on repairs. Bassem Mansour, head of Syria’s civil aviation
service, confirmed the airport is out of action. An Israeli military
spokesman declined to comment on the matter.
Regional Intelligence Sources on the Strike
Two regional intelligence sources claim that the Israeli strike hit an
underground ammunition depot linked to the Nairab military airport area.
They also claim that missile systems, delivered by several Iranian military
planes, were stored at the depot. Pro-Iranian militias have expanded their
influence in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo over the past year, and
they maintain several key bases in the area.
Nairab Military Airport and Iran’s Presence in Syria
The Nairab military airport is used for Iranian weapons shipments and
regular movement of troops, according to intelligence sources. Iran has
increased its use of airports to ship more weapons over the past month,
taking advantage of heavy air traffic as cargo planes unload humanitarian
aid following a particularly deadly earthquake.
Israel’s Previous Attacks on Aleppo Airport
This is the third time in six months that Israel has targeted the Aleppo
airport. On March 7, 2023, an Israeli airstrike on the airport blew up a
shipment of Iranian arms cargo hours after it was sent by a plane that
Damascus said was carrying aid, according to Western intelligence sources.
Damascus has condemned these attacks, claiming they have derailed
much-needed aid for the earthquake victims.
Israel’s Motivation for Attacking Syrian Airports
Israel has stepped up attacks on Syrian airports and air bases specifically
to disrupt its use of air supply lines to deliver weapons to its allies,
including the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah. Hezbollah is also deploying
fighters to aid Assad. Fighters allied with Iran, including Hezbollah, now
control large areas in eastern, southern, and northwestern Syria and in
several suburbs around the capital.