Satellite images show building leveled in alleged Israeli strike on Syrian base
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Satellite images show building leveled in alleged Israeli strike on Syrian base

22 pro-Assad fighters, including 9 Iranians, said killed in Sunday bombing of the Aleppo airfield, an alleged HQ of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Satellite images from July 7 and 17, 2018, showing the results of an alleged Israeli airstrike on an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces. ImageSat International ISI)(
Satellite images from July 7 and 17, 2018, showing the results of an alleged Israeli airstrike on an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces. ImageSat International ISI)(

Satellite images released by an Israeli intelligence firm on Tuesday showed the extensive damage done to at least one building, in a deadly airstrike on a Syrian airfield earlier this week that was blamed on Israel.

The bombing raid targeted Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport, in northern Syria late Sunday night, according to Syrian state media. The facility was identified in the past as a base for Iranian forces, including Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The Zionist enemy (Israel)… targeted with its missiles one of our military positions north of the Nayrab military airport, but the damage was only material,” SANA said citing a military source.

Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in the strike, the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network reported Monday. That figure, which could not be confirmed, was significantly higher than an earlier report of nine deaths by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.

Satellite images from July 17, 2018, showing an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces, that was hit in alleged Israeli airstrike days before. (ImageSat International ISI)

The satellite images released on Tuesday by ImageSat International, a company that interprets visual intelligence, show the effects of the airstrike to one structure near the airfield.

The building, described as a vehicle workshop, was estimated to be 50 meters by 12 meters (164 feet by 39 feet) in size.

The building was also said to have received shipments from Iranian transport aircraft, flying into the Aleppo airfield.

Satellite images from July 17, 2018, showing the results of an alleged Israeli airstrike on an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces. (ImageSat International ISI)

According to the Observatory, the airfield that was targeted served as a logistics hub to provide equipment and food to pro-regime forces fighting at nearby fronts, but it was not believed to store weapons.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside the country, said it had recorded a wave of blasts around Nayrab on Sunday night.

The base was also reportedly previously struck by Israel on April 29 as part of a large raid that also targeted weapons depots near Hama.

There was no comment from Israel, which rarely confirms such attacks.

Suspected Israeli airstrikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in the central provinces of Homs and Hama in the past, including on July 8, when Israel was said to have carried out an airstrike on the T-4 military base near Homs, also thought to be used by IRGC fighters.

That said, these bombing raids rarely occur as far north as Aleppo, though it is not unprecedented.

Sunday’s strike came hours before a high-stakes summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, where Syria and Iran were on the agenda.

Israel has been pushing Russia to remove Iranian-aligned militia fighters from Syria, and has vowed to stop them from getting a foothold anywhere in the country. Russia has reportedly only agreed to removing them from the Golan border region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and US President Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (AFP PHOTO/ Brendan Smialowski)

“We came to a lot of good conclusions. A really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong,” Trump later told Fox News, without going into detail.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Putin in Moscow last week, said Sunday that he had discussed the issue with Trump a day earlier.

Netanyahu reportedly told Putin during their Wednesday meeting that Israel would not challenge Assad’s control of Syria, in exchange for freedom to act against Iran.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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