However, Revolutionary Military Council sources have denied such news, stressing in a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that this is “not accurate”. The sources explained that the rebels “confronted an Iranian plane that was preparing to land at Aleppo international airport, and shot at it with heavy automatic weaponry, forcing the plane to divert away from the airport”.
This is the second operation of its kind within the space of twenty days, after the armed opposition targeted a Syrian civilian aircraft landing at Aleppo international airport in December, firing warning shots as its wheels came to a halt.
Opposition fighters are continuing to target aircraft at Meng military airport, where activists have revealed that the rebels have damaged helicopters stationed inside the airport, using the rocket-propelled grenades and tank shells that they plundered from the regime’s forces. A military source from Aleppo told Asharq Al-Awsat that the battle for Meng airport is ongoing, stressing that the military site, located near the town of Azaz to the north of Aleppo, “will fall in the near future”.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists have posted images showing the human and material losses stemming from the aerial bombardment of Azaz market. The activists claim there have been dozens of casualties, in addition to the destroyed buildings. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced that its fighters were “making significant advances towards the entrances of Meng military airport, targeting several buildings inside”. Likewise, the FSA announced on its website that its fighters are besieging Kwers military airport, and that yesterday they damaged a plane and forced it to land on their territory.
According to military defectors, the Kwers airport site houses more than 100 warplanes, three of which have been damaged so far, along with 5 helicopters, one of which has been destroyed. The FSA website reports that the last plane to land at Kwers airport was a civilian plane transporting artillery and troops. It claims that the airport currently holds 900 of the regime’s troops and 13 artillery guns; however the base has experienced roughly 100 defections, including high-ranking officials. The FSA website pointed out that the airport is being subjected to daily bombardments from homemade rockets, and is in a state of permanent high alert.
Finally, according to local coordination committees, the Syrian rebels are continuing to bombard Neirab military airport, and yesterday morning they attacked Jarrah (another military airport in Aleppo) with rockets. This is all happening whilst the regime’s warplanes continue to carry out extensive raids on Damascus and the surrounding area.