Satellite imagery of T-4 base shows recent Iranian cargo plane delivering equipment to base; Strikes likely hit drone program, weapons system; Iran building new border crossing from Syria to Iraq, likely for smuggling.
Israel’s recent airstrikes in Syria on the T-4 airbase likely targeted an Iranian drone facility, according to satellite imagery evaluated from before and following the attacks. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out a covert operation targeting the base on Sunday, reportedly destroying a transfer vehicle and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards missile depot.
According to an assessment by Israel ImageSat International (ISI), the strikes targeted and destroyed elements of the airbase, not its infrastructure, likely an Iranian weapons system and/or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program. The attacks followed a recent cargo plane delivery from Tehran. ISI reported Tuesday, “The accurate strike from June 2, 2019, has destroyed an element or a few, not an infrastructure, nearby an apron which lately hosted aircraft arriving from Tehran, Iran. Since the attack targeted specific components, reasonably portable, it is assessed that there are of high importance… [it could] be an advanced weapons system element (probably related to UAV, possibly including a transposable ground control structure).”
The attacks outside of Palmyra were one of three reported strikes targeting Iranian sites in Syria last week, as the Islamic Republic continues to expand its presence in the region and strengthen its proxies through funding and arming them with weapons. The T-4 base was previously targeted by the Israel Air Force in February of last year after an Iranian drone was launched from the base and entered Israeli airspace.
ISI last week published satellite imagery of Iranian construction of a border crossing between Syria and Iraq, likely for arms and oil smuggling. The images show the gradual construction on the border in a pro-Iranian, Shiite militia stronghold near the Albukamal crossing. The border crossing is a strategic way for Iran to not only bypass US sanctions but also arm and support its proxies.
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