Aleppo Airport Closed as Rebel Attacks Continue

Military Vows to 'Clear' Area Around Airport So It Can Reopen

As fighting continued in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, officials closed the international airport, citing the threat of rebel attacks against it and repeated promises by militants to target civilian aircraft flying out of the airport.

Syrian rebels attacked Syrian Airways flight RB201 to Cairo in mid-December, and had promised to attack all flights coming out of Aleppo and Damascus. The area around Aleppo is much more contested than Damascus, however, and it appears rebels just couldn’t be kept far enough away from the Aleppo airport to keep it running.

Exactly how big the impact of the closure will be is unclear, as fighting has brought Aleppo’s industry to a halt for months, and the airport was not in nearly as broad of use as it had been.

Whether the closure is permanent or not also isn’t clear, because while airport officials certainly gave that impression, the Syrian military insisted it would soon “clear” the area around the airport from rebels, potentially allowing it to reopen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.