Syria claims Israeli airstrike killed soldier and forced closure of airport
This is the 16th reported Israeli strike in Syria since beginning of the year
An Israeli missile strike this morning targeted the Aleppo airport overnight, killing one soldier, wounding seven others and leading to the closure of the airport due to “material damage,” according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed the target was Al-Nairab Military Airport and Defence laboratories near Aleppo. Several Western intelligence sources told Reuters that the sites that were struck are used by Iranian forces. The observatory also said a fuel station near Al-Naqirah was hit by rockets during the attack, which resulted in a large fire and the burning of several trucks and oil tanks. It is not known if the rocket that hit the site was Israeli or part of Syrian Air Defense Force.
The Syrian government frequently claims to intercept some of Israel's missiles, however military analysts are skeptical.
Israel has reportedly carried out multiple strikes on targets in Syria this year, with the most recent being an overnight airstrike on April 28, targeting a Hezbollah weapons depot in the Al-Dab’ah military airport area near Homs.
SOHR said Israel has carried out 16 attacks in Syria so far this year. The observatory also said this is the second attack on this site in one month.
The attack also comes right before Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s two-day visit to Syria at the invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The trip marks the first visit by an Iranian president since the civil war in Syrian began in 2011.
Iran intervened in the Syrian civil war early on to prevent Assad from being toppled. Syria has also been an area of long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia, which both have interests in keeping Assad in power.
Seth Frantzman of the Jerusalem Post reported that Iran has increased its weapons trafficking through Aleppo to Hezbollah. He wrote that some of Iran’s claimed earthquake aid was actually munitions for the Lebanese terror group.
Israel has publicly acknowledged a policy of targeting Iranian-linked sites in Syria since 2017 to reduce entrenchment. While the country does not specifically acknowledge each attack, military and political leaders have referred to Syrian strikes in public briefings and press conferences.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.