After a nine-year closure, Aleppo International Airport, the second largest terminal in Syria, has re-opened today, with the first flight being an internal one from Damascus.

Coming only days after Syrian government forces, backed by the Russian air force, reclaimed Aleppo’s entire countryside, and with it, the last segments of the main Damascus-Aleppo highway, the operation of the airport marks the - symbolic - end of Aleppo residents’ forced enclosure in the city.

The Syrian Air flight was received on the ground by a military band at the tarmac, and a show of celebration using warplanes. 

Earlier in the day, Syrian Tourism Minister Bishr al-Yazigi and Transport Minister Ali Hammoud opened the airport for business.

The airport closed due to the war in 2012, and had opened briefly in 2017 before abruptly shutting its doors again due to security concerns.

Government officials expressed hope that the resumption of commercial flights will help revive economic activity in the city.

But Transport Minister Ali Hammoud said authorities were still waiting for approvals to resume international flights, although plans to reopen the route to Cairo, Egypt, are set for next month.

The airport was forcibly closed due to the war in 2012, and had opened briefly in 2017 before being abruptly closed again due to security concerns.