(Photo Credit: AP/Omar Sanadiki)
The UN issued a statement on 8 March, saying that Israeli airstrikes on Aleppo International Airport are impeding the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to the victims of last month’s catastrophic earthquake.
“The impact of this closure impedes humanitarian access and could have drastic humanitarian consequences for millions of people who have been affected by the earthquake,” the statement reads, highlighting that Aleppo is “one of the worst earthquake-impacted governorates in Syria.”
“Attacks must never be directed against civilians or civilian objects. The humanitarian community has been responding to one of the worst crises that hit Syria since 6 February against the background of 12 years of conflict, economic decline, and a desperate humanitarian situation,” the UN statement goes on to say.
According to the UN, all flights from Aleppo for the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) have been suspended until at least 10 March.
The UNHAS is “the key enabler of access for humanitarian operations in Syria and in many other crisis countries.”
Israeli jets bombed Aleppo airport in the early hours of 7 March, damaging its runway and forcing aid deliveries to be redirected to Latakia and Damascus airports.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights (SOHR), three people were killed during the attack.
Ahead of Tuesday’s airstrikes, over 80 humanitarian flights had landed at Aleppo airport, according to a transport ministry official who spoke with AFP.
“There is no longer a possibility to receive any new aid planes until the damage to [the airport] is repaired,” Suleiman Khalil told the French news outlet.
Last month, five people were killed when Israeli airstrikes hit residential neighborhoods and other locations in Damascus.
In response to Tuesday’s attack, the Iranian Foreign Ministry called Israel’s actions “a crime against humanity.”
“While those affected by the earthquake in Aleppo are going through difficult conditions, the Zionist entity is attacking Aleppo Airport, which is the main route for international aid to reach them, and this is a clear example of a crime against humanity,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani told reporters.