The Iranian-backed Baqir brigade began relocating its military headquarters in Aleppo on Tuesday after alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted a research center in the city this week, according to the Step News Agency.
The brigade erected checkpoints at the southern and eastern entrances of the city, began checking the identities of passers-by and searching vehicles.
The headquarters are being moved from within the city to a new area in the city's outskirts due to fears of being targeted by Israeli airstrikes.
The formerly Iranian-backed and currently Russian-backed Palestinian Liwa al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigade) militia in Aleppo also issued a similar security alert recently in the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, according to Step. Non-residents were prevented from entering the area by the brigade, which is also working to move its headquarters outside of the neighborhood.
For the first time since Iran entered Syria with thousands of troops and militia fighters, the Islamic Republic is reducing its forces and clearing out from bases in the war-torn country, a senior defense source said Tuesday. The Iranian nationals in Syria are said to be leaving because of the series of Israeli airstrikes. The Iranian-backed militias are leaving because the civil war is winding down.
Not only have the strikes killed dozens of Iranian troops and destroyed an immeasurable amount of advanced weaponry, over the last six months Iran has also significantly reduced the number of cargo flights into Syria which are used to smuggle weapons into the war-torn country.
At least five airstrikes targeting Syria have been blamed on Israel in the past two weeks.
Alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted a research center and a military base in Syria on Monday night where Iranian militias are based, the fifth such strike in two weeks, according to Syrian media. Further airstrikes by unidentified aircraft on Iranian militias were reported in the Deir Ezzor area near the Syria-Iraq border shortly after.
Some 12 missiles were fired at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in Aleppo during the airstrikes, reported Al-Arabiya, adding that the research center is believed by Israel to be cooperating with Iran to develop missile technologies. Sources for Al-Arabiya added that five of the missiles hit the research center, “completely destroying it.”
Fourteen Iranians and Iran-backed militants were killed in the alleged Israeli airstrikes in Deir Ezzor last night, according to SOHR. The death toll is expected to rise as injuries were reported with some in critical conditions.
Multiple airstrikes have targeted Iranian forces and militias in eastern Syria in the past few months. A strategic border crossing between Iraq and Syria and the Iranian-controlled Imam Ali military base is located in the border town of Al-Bukamal.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.