DAMASCUS: Syria’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it considered the air strikes on civilian infrastructure to be a ‘war crime’, a day after Israeli strikes hit Aleppo airport for the second time in a week.

A foreign ministry statement specifically referred to Israeli air raids on Tuesday on the airport that damaged the runway and put the site out of service.

“The recurring Israeli attacks, especially the systematic and deliberate targeting of civilian objects in Syria — the latest of which was the targeting of Aleppo International Airport yesterday — amounts to a crime of aggression and a war crime according to international law,” the statement said.

“Israel must be held to account for it,” it added.

Second Israeli attack in a week on Aleppo airport damages runway

“The Israeli enemy fired missiles from the Mediterranean Sea… targeting Aleppo International Airport, damaging the runway and rendering it out of service,” the state media said about Tuesday’s attack.

Sana news agency said earlier that Syrian air defences had intercepted some missiles, and reported material damage. Syria’s private airline Cham Wings announced that all flights to and from Aleppo would be routed to the capital Damascus due to the strikes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said several explosions were heard near Aleppo airport, “resulting from Israeli strikes on warehouses of Iran-affiliated militias”. The monitor, which has a vast network of sources on the ground in Syria, said two missiles destroyed the depots, causing a fire and “heavy material damage”.

On Wednesday last week, Sana said Israeli strikes hit Aleppo airport, causing “some material damage”.

Since 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against its northern neighbour. While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes, it has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of them.

The Israeli military has defended such action as necessary to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

Regional diplomatic and intelligence sources said Israel intensified strikes on Syrian airports to disrupt Tehran’s “increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to allies” in Syria and Lebanon, including Hezbollah.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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