Military Capabilities

IDF highlights Iranian presence in Syria

19 April 2018
A Saegheh is seen with four missiles and the panel over the top of its nose removed. The weapons were probably only attached for display purposes to what may be a type of loitering munition launched against Israeli from Syria on 10 February. Source: Sepah News

Key Points

  • The IDF has identified five locations in Syria where Iran has a military presence
  • It has also accused the Iranians of carrying out their first direct attack on Israel

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has revealed details of Iran’s military presence in Syria in what appears to be an attempt to deter Tehran from launching attacks on Israel from the neighbouring country.

IDF officials told journalists on 17 April that there is an Iranian military presence at five Syrian airbases and airports: T4 (Tiyas) Air Base in Homs province; Damascus International Airport and Sayqal Air Base in Damascus province; Dayr al-Zawr Air Base in eastern Syria; and Aleppo Airport.

They released satellite imagery showing the purported Iranian areas at Sayqal and Dayr al-Zawr, as well as transport aircraft at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport.

DigitalGlobe satellite imagery shows that a UAV has been operating since at least 1 December 2017 from the part of Dayr al-Zawr Air Base the IDF said is used by Iran. With a twin-boom configuration and a wingspan of approximately 9 m, the aircraft could be a Forpost operated by the Russian military, which has also deployed Su-25 ground attack jets to the base. Iran has at least two similar UAVs – the Ababil-3 and the new Mohajer-6 – but their dimensions have not been released.

The IDF has previously released aerial imagery showing an UAV outside two hangars at T4. It said the UAV was operated by Iranians and the location was targeted by airstrikes on 10 February in retaliation for an Iranian UAV incursion into Israeli airspace earlier that day.

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