‘Heavy’ damage confirmed at Damascus airport after Israeli attack | New

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The Syrian Transport Ministry said the runways at Damascus International Airport remained out of service after a missile strike.

Syrian state media has confirmed that Damascus International Airport suffered extensive damage – including to runways – following an Israeli missile attack.

The Syrian Ministry of Transport said in a statement on Saturday that the runways remained out of service at the capital’s airport after Friday’s attack, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

“Landing and departure flights were suspended today until further notice following the Israeli aggression, which caused heavy damage to airstrips in several locations and to navigation lights in more damage [that] happened in the hall of the airport,” SANA quoted in a statement from the ministry.

The ministry said flights should resume “in association with air carriers” as soon as repair work is completed, SANA reported.

The airport was targeted by a volley of missiles fired from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights around 04:20 local time (0120 GMT) on Friday, state media reported.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against its neighbor since war broke out in Syria in 2011, targeting government troops as well as Iranian-backed allied forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

While Israel rarely comments on individual attacks, it has acknowledged carrying out hundreds in Syria which it says are necessary to prevent regional rival Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

Rarely have such attacks caused major flight disruptions.

The statement from the Ministry of Transport was the first to describe the extent of the damage caused by Friday’s airstrike.

“Civil aviation and national companies are working … to repair the extensive damage to the airport,” the ministry said, adding that a terminal was also hit.

The SANA news agency said the Israeli shelling also injured a civilian.

Russian conviction

Syria’s ally, Russia, strongly condemned “Israel’s provocative attack on critical civilian infrastructure”.

A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry called the attacks an “absolutely unacceptable violation of international standards”.

Russia’s military intervention in 2015 helped turn the war in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s favor and Moscow continued to maintain military bases in the country.

Syria’s more than decade-long conflict began with the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests against al-Assad’s rule, which then escalated, attracting foreign powers and fighters.

Nearly half a million people were killed and around half of the country’s pre-war population was forced to flee their homes.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke by phone and also condemned the missile attack, SANA reported.

Syria will “defend itself by all legitimate means” against Israeli attacks, Mekdad said.

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