Israeli Air Force Bombed Damascus and Aleppo Airports To Stop Iranian Weapons Shipment To Hamas And Hezbollah

A picture taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows smoke billowing during a Israeli strike on Gaza on Oct. 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Syrian state news agency SANA said Israeli missiles hit the airports in the capital of Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, damaging their runways. It said one airport worker was killed in the attacks and one was injured. Flights have been transferred to Latakia Airport.

Israeli forces have struck both the Damascus and Aleppo airports several times over the past year. The Times of Israel said Israel is believed to be attempting to prevent the shipment of weapons from Iran to Middle East proxies, the most prominent being Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli airstrikes on Thursday hit the international airports of the Syrian capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, damaging their runways and putting them out of service.

State news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying that no one was hurt in the attacks.

They would be the first Israeli strikes on Syria since the militant Palestinian group Hamas carried out its deadly attacks in southern Israel.

The airstrikes came a day before Iran’s foreign minister was scheduled to visit Syria to meet officials over the volatile situation in the region.

Israel has targeted airports and sea ports in the government-held parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms shipments from Iran to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Thousands of Iran-backed fighters from around the region joined Syria’s 12-year conflict helping tip the balance in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both said in interviews Sunday the United States is concerned about the Israel-Hamas war expanding in the Middle East.

Austin told ABC’s “This Week” show, “We’re concerned about potential escalation…a significant escalation.” But he said the U.S. has “the ability to respond,” noting that a U.S. Navy warship shot down drones launched from Yemen that might have been headed toward Israel.

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