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Syria: Israeli strikes kill three and shut down Aleppo airport

Second reported Israeli strike on the airport in less than a week follows similar bombings of Damascus airport
A Cham Wings Airlines Airbus is pictured at Syria's Aleppo airport after flights were diverted from Damascus following an Israeli strike last week, on 15 June 2022 (AFP)

Israeli air strikes have killed at least three people and damaged Syria's Aleppo airport, putting it out of service, for the second time in a week.

The Israeli military launched missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, west of the coastal city of Latakia, at 8:16 pm local time, the Syrian defence ministry said.

It is the second reported Israeli strike on the airport in northern Syria in less than a week and follows similar bombings of Damascus airport.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of six missiles were fired, killing three people and wounding five. 

The identities and nationalities of those killed could not be immediately confirmed.

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Syria’s private airline Cham Wings announced that all flights to and from Aleppo would be routed to Damascus due to the strikes.

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The Syrian Observatory said several explosions were heard near Aleppo airport, "resulting from Israeli strikes on warehouses of Iran-affiliated militias".

The monitor, which has a vast network of sources on the ground in Syria, said at least two missiles destroyed the depots, causing a fire and "heavy material damage".

Israel has long targeted Iranian assets in Syria, but in recent weeks, western diplomats say there has been a shift to hitting infrastructure used by Tehran to supply its proxies.

The move comes as Tehran reportedly turned to the use of commercial airlines to supply arms to allies such as the government in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, according to a report by Reuters on Friday.

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, the military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

The Israeli strikes also follow an uptick in clashes between US troops stationed in Syria and Iranian proxies. Tensions have been running high in the region as hopes for a quick resolution to talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal falter.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his government was pressuring the US not to return to the agreement. Israel has said that a revival of the deal will not prevent it from acting against Iran.

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