Destroyed storage structure, Damascus International Airport, Syria, 11 May 2018, intelligence analysis provided by ISI.
(photo credit: IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL (ISI))
New satellite images of Damascus International Airport near the Syrian capital showed extensive damage following Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets earlier in the week.
The images, an intelligence analysis provided by ImageSat International (ISI), show the complete destruction of a 30x15m storage structure located close to the main terminal, as well as the abandonment of a facility known as “the Glasshouse.”
Israel struck 50 Iranian targets in Syria early Thursday morning after 20 rockets were fired towards Israel’s front defensive line in the Golan Heights by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force.
Iran targets Israel from Syria, Israel responds, May 10, 2018 (Reuters)
The targets all belonged to IRGC’s Quds Force and included intelligence sites, logistics headquarters, a military compound and logistics complex in Kiswah near the Syrian capital of Damascus, weapons storage sites belonging at Damascus International Airport, intelligence systems and installations, as well as observation, military posts and military hardware in the buffer zone.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 11 Iranians were among the 46 killed in Israel’s strikes.
In a report published on The American Interest
news site, the “Glasshouse” at the Damascus International Airport was used by the IRGC as its headquarters under the command of General Hussein Kaani to supervise operations closer to the border with Israel.
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry from Tehran via Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, stressing that both are red lines for the Jewish State.
Two years ago, the IDF noticed a shift by the Iranians and the IRGC’s Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who began to consider Syria, then falling again under the control of President Bashar Assad, as a platform providing the Islamic Republic strategic depth and increased regional hegemony.
Accordingly, in the past year, the IDF has noted an increasing Iranian presence in Syria, with Soleimani sending from Iran advanced air defense systems, with a maximum range of 110 kilometers, that could threaten Israel’s freedom of action in the country.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the Israeli strikes, saying that "the Zionist regime cannot stand peace and stability in the region, and sees its own safety in making the region all the more unstable.”
Israel had been preparing for a direct attack from the Quds Force since mid-April, in response to a strike carried out by the Jewish State against an Iranian-operated airbase in Syria that killed seven IRGC soldiers.
Earlier in the week, the IDF instructed local governments to open bomb shelters to residents of the Golan Heights following the identification of “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.”
While some bomb shelters in the area had been opened prior to Tuesday’s announcement, shift in Iranian activities in Syria led to authorities' decision to open all bomb shelters and to inform residents of the increased tension in the area.