Syria halts flights to and from Damascus, hours after Israeli attack

A SyrianAir Airbus A340-300 is pictured at Damascus International Airport, the day it reopened for scheduled international commercial traffic after months of closure following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in this document published by SANA on October 1, 2020, Syria. SANA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

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DAMASCUS, June 10 (Reuters) – Syria halted flights to and from Damascus International Airport on Friday “until further notice” after Israeli airstrikes damaged the airstrip and a terminal , announced the Ministry of Transport.

A Syrian military official quoted by the official SANA news agency said Syrian air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles, shooting down most of them, but the early morning attack injured a civilian and caused damage materials.

Cham Wings Airline, a Syrian private carrier, said it was redirecting all its flights to Aleppo International Airport.

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The Transport Ministry said the airport had halted all flights, and a later statement said Israeli airstrikes damaged the runway and one of the terminals.

“Due to this damage, all flights in and out of the airport have been suspended until further notice,” the ministry’s second statement said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday that Israeli shelling damaged the runway after targeting “Iranian militia warehouses” near the airport.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment.

For several years, Israel has been attacking what it describes as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have deployed to aid President Bashar al-Assad.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian condemned the attack as a “manifest violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity…(and) contrary to international law and human principles”, during a phone call with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, Iranian state media reported.

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Reporting by Maya Gebeily in Beirut, Yomna Ehab in Cairo, Kinda Makieh and the Dubai newsroom; Written by Lina Najem, edited by Catherine Evans, Angus MacSwan and Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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