Israel's May Strike on Damascus Airport Was Reportedly Intended to Prevent Arms Deliveries From Iran
Tel Aviv has claimed responsibility for only some of the air strikes against Syria which Damascus claims were launched by the IDF. Israel justifies these strikes on its neighbour, which violate international laws, by claiming they were a "defence" against planned Iranian weapons shipments to the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah.
Israel's attack on Damascus International Airport with surface-to-surface missiles on 20 May was aiming to destroy its runways in order to prevent Iranian arms deliveries, Israeli Channel 12 news has reported. Channel 12 said, citing satellite imagery data, that the IDF had succeeded in this goal as the airport's runway was damaged at both ends, shortening it enough to prevent the landing of a large aircraft, such as Boeing 747 planes allegedly used by Iran.
Tehran denies all allegations that it is sending weapons to Syria, stressing that it only provides military advisers.
The Israeli media claims that the deliveries, which Tel Aviv tried to prevent, included weapons guidance systems, which could allegedly turn regular missiles into precision ones. According to Channel 12, these systems were destined for Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which is organising attacks on Israeli territory. Tel Aviv claims that Iran supplies the group with weapons to wage a proxy war on Israel.
The IDF has not commented on Channel 12's report.
Syrian media reported that most of the missiles had been intercepted. Despite that, three Syrian servicemen died from the attack, which was attributed to Israel by Damascus. There has been no official confirmation about the damage done to the Damascus International Airport and its runways.
Iran, in turn, condemned the attack and the lack of a reaction from the international community to Israel's "aggression" on Syrian soil. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the inaction of the international community fuels Tel Aviv's "boldness and impudence" and enables further attacks that contradict international law.
Damascus routinely accuses Israel of launching airstrikes against facilities within its territory, including both military and civilian targets. However, Tel Aviv, however, has only claimed responsibility on a handful of occasions. Israel justified the few attacks it acknowledged by citing the need to prevent Iranian weapons shipments to Hezbollah.
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