JEDDAH: An Israeli airstrike on Aleppo airport in northern Syrian disabled the runway just as a cargo plane linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was about to land, new satellite photos show.
The images confirm that Israel has intensified strikes on Syrian airports to disrupt Iran’s increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to allies in Syria and Lebanon, including Hezbollah.
Just before Wednesday’s strike, a transponder signal on an Antonov An-74 cargo plane flown by Yas Air indicated that it was about to land at the airport. Yas Air is under US Treasury sanctions for transporting weapons on behalf of the Revolutionary Guards.
Israel also carried out a strike on Damascus airport, damaging equipment, the second such attack since June when Israeli airstrikes on the runway knocked it out of service for two weeks.
A regional diplomatic source said the strikes marked a shift in Israeli targeting. “They started to hit infrastructure used by the Iranians for ammunition supplies to Lebanon,” the source said.
The strikes also provide clues to where Iran is increasing its involvement, said Nawar Shaaban, an analyst at the Omran Centre for Strategic Studies. “The dangerous thing is that when we look at these areas that are being hit, it tells us that Iran has spread out more,” he said. “Every time we see a strike hit a new area, the reaction is, ‘Whoah, Israel hit there.’ But what we should be saying is, ‘Whoah, Iran is there’.”