Iranian land bridge streaching all the way to Lebanon .
(photo credit: ISI IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL)
Satellite images have revealed the total destruction wrought on a Shi’ite militia base in Albukamal in Syria near the Iraq border.
Published by ImageSat International on Thursday, the new images show the location of a structure that was hit on June 18, 2018. Although the Syrian regime and the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia blamed the US for the bombing, a CNN official in June blamed the attack on Israel and foreign Arabic media reports also indicated Israel was behind the raid.
The target was allegedly the headquarters in Syria of the Iraqi-based Kata’ib Hezbollah militia.
Led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis the militia has been a close ally of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It was instrumental in fighting ISIS over the last four years but also is close to Lebanese Hezbollah, with which it shares a similar name.
Iran and its allies have long focused on controlling two key border crossings between Iraq and Syria: al-Tanf, a border crossing in southeast Syria along the border with Jordan and Iraq; as well as Al-Bukamal-al Qa’im in the east.
The presence and the involvement of the Iranians and the Shiites in this area are not hidden – on 30 June 2018 an Iranian intelligence delegation and the “Popular Mobilization Committee” visited the destroyed site.
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In its publication ISI said that it “detected trails linking between the destroyed headquarters to other structures in the area. ISI assess that those linked structures might be related to the destroyed one and to the Iran-led Iraqi Shi'ite militias, which control the area.” The images were produced on 23 June, 2018.
The report ISI produced is titled “Iranian land bridge to Syria through Iraq and Albukamal border crossing.” The other images in the publication show border structures in Iraq that have been re-opened since November 2017 when the Iraqi Security Forces liberated the Iraqi side from ISIS.
However the Iraqi militias then crossed over into Syria, spreading fears about Iran’s growing influence over a land corridor that links Tehran to Beirut via Iraq and Syria.
Israel has expressed concern about Iran’s involvement in Syria and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned numerous times that Israel will not allow Iran to put down roots and bases in Syria.
With the Syrian regime launching a major offensive near the Golan Heights in recent weeks, these tensions have grown. The June 18 airstrike should be seen in that context.
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