An Israeli air strike has reportedly hit an Iranian arms depot near Aleppo airport, amid the Islamic Republic’s growing influence in Syria where it is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in a 12-year civil war.
Bassem Mansour, the head of Syria's civil aviation service, said that the airport was put out of service by an air strike early on March 22.
Israel launched "a number of missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, west of the coastal city of Latakia, at 3:55 a.m.," according to the Syrian Defense Ministry.
The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the attack, the third on Aleppo airport in six months. Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria in the past years, targeting Syrian government positions, allied militias and Iran-linked targets.
Reuters news agency cited two regional intelligence sources as saying that the strike hit an underground munitions depot linked to the nearby Nairab military airport, where missile systems delivered on Iranian military planes had been stored.
Over the past year, the two sources said that pro-Iranian militias have expanded their influence in the northern province of Aleppo, where they maintain several bases and support local paramilitary groups that operate there.
They said Nairab military airport has been used regularly for Iranian arms deliveries and the movement of troops.
Meanwhile, three Western intelligence sources said that the Islamic Republic has increased the use of the airport to deliver more weapons during the past month, taking advantage of heavy air traffic as cargo planes offload relief aid in the wake of a devastating earthquake in February.