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.