BEIRUT — The Israeli army fired rockets into the international airport of the Syrian capital on Monday morning, putting it out of service and killing two soldiers and wounding two others, the Syrian army said.
The attack, which took place shortly after midnight on Sunday, was the second in seven months to shut down Damascus International Airport. It caused property damage in a nearby area, the military said without giving further details.
The Syrian transport ministry said work to repair the damage began immediately and some flights resumed later Monday while work continued in other parts of the airport.
Israel has targeted airports and ports in government-controlled parts of Syria in an apparent attempt to prevent arms shipments from Iran to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
An opposition war observer reported that the Israeli strikes hit both the airport and a weapons depot near the facility south of Damascus. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed in the attack.
The conflicting reports could not be immediately reconciled.
The Observatory said the runway used for civilian flights has been repaired, while another, used for cargo transport, remains out of service. That runway is also used by Iranian-backed groups, the Observatory added.
Later on Monday, the Syrian foreign ministry said the attacks are “part of a series of Israeli crimes” against Syria. In a statement, the ministry called on the UN Security Council to condemn “Israeli crimes and aggression,” adding that those responsible must be held accountable and such attacks must not be repeated.
There was no comment from Israel.
Syrian state television reported that the private Cham Wings resumed flights, while the flight tracking website, Flightradar24, showed that a flight from the Iraqi private Fly Bagdad of Iraq, originating from the Iraqi city of Najaf, briefly touched down in Damascus around 9:00 a.m. would land.
On 10 June, Israeli air strikes on Damascus International Airport caused significant damage to infrastructure and runways. It reopened two weeks later after repairs.
In September, Israeli airstrikes hit the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and once commercial center, also knocking it out of action for days.
In late 2021, Israeli warplanes fired missiles that hit the port of Latakia, hitting containers and causing a massive fire.
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against targets in government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
However, Israel has acknowledged targeting bases of Iran-linked militant groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters have joined Syria’s 11-year civil war and helped tip the balance of power in Assad’s favour.
Israel says an Iranian presence on its northern border is a red line that justifies its attacks on facilities and weapons in Syria.