Israel is preparing for a crossborder attack by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, in response to a strike allegedly carried out by the Jewish state against an Iranian-operated air base in Syria that killed seven of its soldiers.
Israel believes the attack will come in the form of precision- guided missiles or armed drones launched from a base in Syria by the IRGC itself – not by proxies, as was done before – under the command of Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“Israel will react strongly to any Iranian action from inside Syria,” a senior IDF source told Sky News in Arabic, adding that Iran plans to attack Israel from Syria.
Aerial photos of Iranian bases in Syria were released Tuesday morning that show Tehran has increased the scope of its military relationship with the Assad regime under the auspices of the IRGC’s air force commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
The source stated that civilian airlines Simorgh Air and Pouya Cargo Air are used by the IRGC as a front for military flights bringing in soldiers and weaponry to bolster Iran’s military presence.
According to the pictures, the IRGC has established several bases in Syria including a military base in Deir al-Zor province in eastern Syria where Ilyushin planes transporting weapons from Iran to Syria can be seen.
The aerial intelligence photos showed five air bases with an IRGC presence: T4, Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Damascus International Airport and another airfield south of the capital.
The photos reportedly illustrate how Tehran remains capable of flying in surface- to-surface missiles to the war-torn country as well as unmanned aerial vehicles under the guise of humanitarian aid.
The release of the photos comes ahead of Iran’s national Army Day on Wednesday, when Israel also begin marking its 70th Independence Day in the evening.
Tensions have risen dramatically between the two archenemies following the infiltration of an Iranian drone into northern Israel, which the IDF on Friday said was armed and on an attack mission
against the Jewish state.
Last week, an alleged Israeli air strike on Syria’s T4 Airbase in Homs province killed seven IRGC soldiers, including Col.
Mehdi Dehghan who led the drone unit operating out of the base. A senior IDF official confirmed to The New York Times on Monday that Israel was behind the attack, stating the February incident “opened a new period” between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic.
“This is the first time we saw Iran [itself] do something against Israel – not by proxy,” he said, adding that the strike on the Iranians at T4 “was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people.”
Following the strike, Ali Akbar Velayati, the top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned that Israel “should be waiting for a powerful response” to the strike on the airfield, saying “it will not remain unanswered.”
Khamenei’s representative to the IRGC, Ali Shirazi, cautioned, “If Israel wants to continue its treacherous existence... it should avoid stupid measures. If they give excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be destroyed.”