Israel destroys Damascus International Airport. Why is there no international outcry?

with friends at Damascus airport in 2014
with friends at Damascus airport in 2014

How is that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) can launch a major attack on a International Airport – a domestic airport – and this doesn’t cause shock and horror around the world? Apparently, destroying civilian infrastructure is OK when it’s Syria!

I have flown in and out of Damascus International Airport a number of times. I’ve included a pic above of me with friends, taken at the airport in 2014. It’s not a great pic of the airport but it is an important memory, as two of the three who were with me there didn’t make it to 2022.

I visited Damascus nine times between 2013 and 2019, after which COVID shut down further plans. I watched the country hunker down and hang on while the military did their work and gradually pushed the troops of ISIS and Al Qaeda and their kin back to the countries from which they came, and this despite the backing they had received from supporting countries in both the east and the west.

When I was last there in 2019, the Syrian people really thought they had won. Apart from Idlib and other relatively small areas in the north-west, controlled by Al Qaeda, Turkey and the USA, the rest of the country was back under control of the Syrian government. It seemed to all be over bar the shouting. Now naïve we were.

Why would we think the Americans would stop stealing Syrian oil when they controlled all those oil fields in the north? Why would Turkey withdraw from the land it had occupied when it had created a useful buffer zone against the Kurds? Why would the US and its allies lift the sanctions that had been eroding the lives of ordinary Syrian families for so long when they could just as easily keep the screws on tight, and so prevent Syria from rebuilding and regaining strength as an independent country?

And so the heartless violence continues, though in a quieter form, with not as many bullets and missiles, but with the slow strangulation of economic sanctions that stop ordinary Syrian people from rebuilding their villages, driving their cars, and heating their homes during the winter. And then of course there’s Israel, which has been bombing selected targets around the country on an almost weekly basis since the uprising began!

Israel rarely admits to its bombings, though the attack on Damascus airport was an exception. When they do admit to such actions, there’s always a narrative aimed at justifying their violence. They were targeting some Hezbollah weaponry, or something en route to Iran. Fhey probably did the same with Damascus airport,

No doubt there were flights going from Damascus to both Beirut and Tehran, carrying … I don’t know what. Even so, can we imagine any other country justifying it’s bombing of another country’s civilian airport on the grounds that they suspected someone was transporting weapons? Can we imagine how the international community would respond if Syria tried bombing Tel Aviv airport, offering a similar justification?

Richard Medhurst’s video below includes before and after photos of the devastation of the once-beautiful and functional facility. How long will it be before Syria can operate flights again? How long before the Syrian people will be permitted to get back to living normal lives?

Father Dave

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