(Photo credit: AFP)
Twelve days after extensive damage to Damascus International Airport caused by an Israeli airstrike attack, the Syrian Ministry of Transport has issued a statement announcing the resumption of operations on 23 June.
The attack at dawn on 10 June severely damaged the two runways at the capital’s main dual use airport, crippling civilian air traffic in and out of the country.
According to Israeli media, the decision to halt operations at the airport was an attempt to deny Iran access to infrastructure that could be utilized for weapon transfers.
However, unlike previous airstrikes – notably, when the Israeli army damaged the tip of the runway on 3 February 2021 to hinder the landing of heavy cargo planes – the damage inflicted on 10 June affected six different locations across hundreds of meters on two separate runways.
On 20 May, just hours after an attack on Damascus International Airport, the Israeli army spokesman of the Arabic media division, Avichay Adraee, spoke about the alleged role of Reda Safi al-Din in smuggling weapons for Hezbollah on civilian airliners.
“We reveal that the trips carried out by Reda Safi al-Din to Iran have hidden layers. He uses his stay there to coordinate the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah, using a network of infrastructure and resources linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). To ensure confidentiality, weapons are transported on civilian flights from Iran to Damascus International Airport,” Adraee said on Twitter.
This was to set the pretext for a larger attack that would cripple all air traffic into Syria.
#عاجل #حصري الكشف عن مسار نقل أسلحة يديره رضا سيد هاشم صفي الدين، نجل السيد هاشم صفي الدين رئيس المجلس التنفيذي لحزب الله اللبناني والذي يستغل منصبه الرفيع والبنى التحتية للدولة اللبنانية لمساعدة نجله في نقل الأسلحة الاستراتيجية من #إيران إلى #حزب_الله pic.twitter.com/wsJL3jIu6o
— افيخاي ادرعي (@AvichayAdraee) May 20, 2022
In view of the occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the recent occupation of Al Tanf zone in Damascus province by US forces, Syrian airports have been the most reliable means of transportation employed by Iran to support resistance against Israeli attacks in Lebanon and Gaza.