Aleppo airport in northern Syria was targeted on Wednesday March 22 by a new Israeli strike, targeting in particular an arms depot belonging to pro-Iranian groups, according to an NGO. According to the Syrian Ministry of Defense, the strike caused only material damage. “About 3:55 a.m. [local time; 1:55 a.m. Paris time], the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault using several missiles from the Mediterranean, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport,” the official said. ministry in a statement.

The attack “caused damage to the airport’s runways, and some are out of service,” said Transport Ministry official Suleiman Khalil. This airport was used in particular for the delivery of international humanitarian aid to Aleppo, hard hit by the earthquake which devastated several regions of Syria and neighboring Turkey on February 6.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), a UK-based NGO with an extensive network of sources in Syria, the strike targeted “the airport and an arms depot of groups nearby pro-Iranians”. This weapons depot “has been completely destroyed,” the Observatory added. Groups affiliated with Iran and its allies have great influence in Aleppo, where they helped government forces regain full control of the city in December 2016, alongside the Russian military.

Second strike in March on Aleppo airport

This is the second time in March that Aleppo airport has been targeted by Israel. On March 7, a raid killed three people and put the airport out of service, according to the OSDH. More than 80 planes loaded with humanitarian aid have landed at this airport since the earthquake, which killed nearly 6,000 people in Syria, according to the transport ministry.

Aleppo airport, the country’s second busiest, had already remained closed for three days after an Israeli strike in September, according to official sources. In early January, shots had also targeted the airport of Damascus, the capital, targeting according to the OSDH “positions of Hezbollah and pro-Iranian groups”. Over the past few years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, targeting regime positions as well as Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces, allies of Damascus and sworn enemies of Israel.

About the new strike against Aleppo airport, the Israeli army said Wednesday “not to comment on reports from foreign media. Israel, a neighboring country to Syria, rarely comments on these actions on a case-by-case basis, but says it wants to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep. Triggered by the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations, the war in Syria has claimed around 500,000 lives, devastated the country’s infrastructure and displaced millions of people.