Syria Today – Israeli Strike on Aleppo Airport; Storm Damages Camps

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.

Syrian state media reported that an Israeli air strike knocked Aleppo airport out of service on Tuesday and forced the Syrian authorities to reroute flights carrying aid for people affected by last month’s earthquake.
The Israeli military declined to comment, Reuters reported.
Israel has for years been carrying out attacks against what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria. Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war that began in 2011.
In the second attack on Aleppo airport in six months, Syrian air defences intercepted missiles launched from the Mediterranean, west of the coastal city of Lattakia, at 2:07 a.m. (2307 GMT), state news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.
SANA cited the source as saying that the attack caused “material damage” to the airport without mentioning any casualties.
In a statement reported by state media, the transport ministry said humanitarian aid flights would be rerouted to Damascus and Lattakia after the “Israeli aggression.”
The Syrian foreign ministry, in a statement, condemned the attack as a “double crime,” saying it had hit a civilian airport and “one of the primary channels for delivering humanitarian assistance” to people affected by the earthquake.
The Ministry added, in a statement posted on its page on Twitter, that this aggression reflects the ugliest forms of barbarism and inhumanity of the Israeli entity and its practice of the most outrageous violations of international law, including the international humanitarian law again.
Syria warns the Israeli entity against the repercussions of continuing these crimes, the Ministry said, calling upon the international community to condemn them and work on ending them, particularly since they presage more threats and risks to the security and peace of the region and the world.

One month after the earthquake, Northwest Syria is in dire need
One month since the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Northwest Syria caused significant loss of life, widespread infrastructure damage, displacement, and psychological trauma, the gap between the needs and the humanitarian response in Northwest Syria is severe, the United Nations said.
The slow international donor response for Northwest Syria continues to limit the ability of aid organizations to meet the scale of needs, which have skyrocketed in a region of the country where 4 million people were already in dire need of assistance after a decade of conflict.
Food insecurity is deteriorating; in half of the camps and communities in Northwest Syria where Mercy Corps is assisting, people report they cannot afford food due to limited cash and increasing food prices. There is limited availability of infant formula and clean water. The lack of access to clean water from damaged water networks, storage tanks, and latrines forces people to resort to poor hygiene practices or drinking unclean water. More than 50,000 cholera cases have been reported in northwest Syria as of March 1.

Why did the UN aid take so long to arrive?

The UN’s delay in delivering life-saving aid to Syrian victims of last month’s devastating earthquake was unnecessary, legal experts have told the BBC.
They said the UN did not need to wait for permission to enter from the Syrian government or the Security Council and could have applied a broader interpretation of international law.
It took a week before the UN got approval from Syria’s president to open extra border crossings to allow access to the opposition-held northwest.
The UN has said it is crucial to rescue quake victims within 72 hours. It disputes the BBC’s findings that it could have acted differently.
“What matters in terms of responding to an earthquake is time and the immediacy of the response. And the UN just stood there completely paralyzed,” international human rights lawyer, Sarah Kayyali, told the BBC.
UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told the BBC: “To deliver humanitarian aid across an international border, we need either the consent of the government, or in the case that we have in Syria, a binding Security Council resolution… we can have academic discussions for weeks, months, and years about international law. Our position is that international law has not delayed our work.”
“The Geneva Conventions, to which Syria is a party, has a provision stating that an impartial humanitarian body… may offer its services” to all sides of a conflict, he told the BBC.

Windstorm damages 28 camps in northern Syria: Response Team

The Syria Response Coordinators Team confirmed that dozens of tents within the camps for the displaced in northwestern Syria have suffered significant material damage as a result of an air storm and high-speed winds in various areas of Idlib province, its countryside, and the northern countryside of Aleppo.
The team said that “to date, more than 28 camps have been documented damaged in various regions, which led to the uprooting and destruction of 58 tents, with the continuation of documentation operations by the field teams of the Syria Response Coordinators.”
The relief group confirmed, according to a statement published on Monday, that the newly established camps accounted for the largest proportion of the damages, equivalent to 70% of the recorded damage rates, and the damages were distributed among the regions by 13 camps in the Idlib region and 15 camps in the Aleppo countryside.
The response team added, “So far, the field teams have received many reports of damage in other camps, and the teams are seeking to reach those camps and count the damage caused by the storm, with increasing fears that the storm will continue and that it will be associated with rainfall that will increase the percentage of damage in the area.” .”
“Blaming only one party has become illogical, as all parties bear their full responsibility for supporting the displaced, especially with the increase in the number of displaced people in the region after the earthquake that the region was exposed to last month,” the statement says.

U.S. responds to Turkish anger over Milley’s visit to NE Syria

In response to Turkey’s reaction regarding the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General’s visit to northeast Syria, the U.S. State Department linked the visit to the presence of the U.S. troops in the region on Monday.
Ned Price, the U.S. State Department Spokesman, said, “General Milley met only with U.S. troops while in Syria. It was only an interaction with American service members.”
However, price, in his remarks, noted that answering any questions regarding the visit is the responsibility of the Department of Defense spokesman, “I’m not the Pentagon spokesperson.”
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Jeff Flake, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, on Monday to ask for clarification regarding the visit of top US General Mark Milley to northeast Syria on March 4th.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General made an unexpected visit to a U.S. base in Syria to evaluate the mission against the Islamic State (ISIS) and review protection measures for U.S. troops.
Price told reporters, “Flake did go to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs today for meetings and discussions.”
The State Department Spokesman stressed, “Our service members are deployed in Syria in service of a goal” shared with Turkey, the U.S. allies, and all members of the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which is “the enduring defeat of ISIS.”


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