A UN official for Syria has condemned an Israeli airstrike on Syria’s Aleppo International Airport, which put the airport out of service and halted aid flights into the city that had been arriving for earthquake relief.
El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the UN’s resident coordinator for Syria, said the airstrike suspended UN humanitarian aid flights into Aleppo, a city that was devastated by the earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey on February 6.
“The closure has also resulted in suspension of all flights from Aleppo for the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) – the key enabler of access for humanitarian operations in Syria and in many other crisis countries,” Benlamlih said.
He said the impact of the “closure impedes humanitarian access and could have drastic humanitarian consequences for millions of people who have been affected by the earthquake.”
The Syrian Transport Ministry said aid flights had to be rerouted to airports in Damascus and Latakia. Benlamlih described Aleppo as “one of the worst earthquake-impacted governorates in Syria.”
The strike hit Aleppo airport early Tuesday morning. Israel has not taken credit for the attack but rarely comments on individual airstrikes in Syria. Israel stepped up airstrikes against airports in Syria last year, claiming they are targeting Iranian weapons shipments.
Benlamlih called on “parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including by taking all feasible precautions to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities.”