The T4 airbase before and after the alleged airstrike.
(photo credit: IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL (ISI))
An alleged Israeli airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase on Sunday night likely took out an advanced weapons system which had been transported from Iran a day earlier, an assessment by ImageSat International (ISI) found on Tuesday.
According to the assessment by ISI, the strike on June 2 destroyed “an element or a few” elements, and not an infrastructure, near an aircraft apron which had earlier hosted an Iranian aircraft.
“Since the attack targeted specific components, reasonably portable, it is assessed that they were of high importance,” ISI said, adding that it could have been “an advanced weapon system element, probably related to UAVs and possibly including a transportable ground control structure.”
Iran has been moving its assets from areas repeatedly struck by Israel to locations closer to the border with Iraq, specifically the T4 Airbase strategically located between Homs and Palmyra and a day before the strike a Qeshm Fars Air jumbo jet returned to Iran from a possible arms delivery flight at T4.
With a large presence of Iranian-backed troops in the area,both civilian and cargo airlines are used by the IRGC as a front for military transport flights bringing in soldiers and weaponry to bolster Iran’s military presence in Syria.
Last year an armed Iranian drone infiltrated into northern Israel in which the IDF claims was part of a sabotage attack mission against the Jewish State. Two months later, a strike on the T4 airbase in Homs province – blamed on Israel – killed seven IRGC soldiers, including Col. Mehdi Dehghan who led the drone unit operating out of the base.
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, five Syrian soldiers were killed in the alleged Israeli strike on Sunday night against an IRGC warehouse at the base in the eastern Homs province on Sunday night, though Syria’s SANA state news agency said only one soldier was killed.
An unnamed military source was quoted by SANA as saying that regime air defenses “responded to an Israeli aggression on the T4 airport in Homs eastern countryside, destroying two of the missiles that targeted the airport,” adding that the other Israeli rockets caused the death of one soldier and injured two others.
An ammunition depot was destroyed in the strike and there was material damage to other buildings and equipment, SANA said.
The strike came just hours after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not tolerate missile attacks on its territory and would “respond forcefully to any aggression against it.”
“Yesterday, two missiles were fired toward Israel from Syrian territory,” Netanyahu said. “One struck inside Syria and the other hit our territory on the Golan Heights. I held security consultations following the attack, and I ordered the IDF to take strong action, which it did, striking several targets.”
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