Flights resume at Syrian capital airport after Israel strike

DAMACUS, Syria (AP) — The international airport in Syria’s capital of Damascus resumed flights on Thursday after nearly two weeks following an Israeli airstrike that caused serious damage to the facility, a private company said.

Cham Wings Airlines said it had four flights that took off from the Damascus International Airport on Thursday for Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

The June 10 Israeli airstrike caused significant damage to infrastructure and runways and rendered the main runway unusable.

Shortly after the strike, work began to repair the damage and flights have been mostly diverted to the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

Israel’s military has declined to comment on the airstrike. The facility is located just south of Damascus, where Syrian opposition activists say Iran-backed militiamen are active and have arms depots.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. The airport strike marked a major escalation in Israel’s campaign, further ratcheting up tensions between Israel on one side and Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant Hezbollah group, on the other.

Israel says it targets bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Hezbollah, which has fighters deployed in Syria fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad’s government forces and ships arms believed to be bound for the militias.

On Tuesday, a Cham Wings Airlines flight from the United Arab Emirates landed at an airport used by Russia’s military in the coastal province of Latakia in western Syria. The flight was the first to land at the airbase since the strike at Damascus airport.

It was also the first Syrian international flight to land at the facility since Russia took it over after joining the war in Syria in September 2015, helping tip the balance of power in favor of Assad’s forces.

The Associated Press

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