April 19, 2018

Syria: The Coalition Attacked Iranian Forces

On Saturday night (April 14, 2018), the Coalition forces conducted bombing-missile air attacks on sites in Syria. As the saying goes, “dictum-factum”. World and regional news agencies have covered the “tomahawk” launches and the consequences of the strikes quite extensively and in detail. Against this background, bombing-missile attacks on the positions of Iranian troops and Shiite armed forces in Syria were almost ignored.

Yes, troops, not groups of mercenaries, militias or paramilitary Shiite formations. It would be a mistake to think that Iran sent to Syria only Iranian volunteers, Shiite militias from Iraq and Afghanistan and subordinated them to the officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Already for almost four years, the IRGC has been creating a real army in Syria, which includes infantry and armored units, artillery, army aviation, intelligence, special-task and logistics units. Training centers have been set up in Syria, in which the IRGC officers prepare militants.

The largest operation involving Iranian troops was the liberation of Aleppo in December 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, the IRGC has expanded its presence in the central and southern regions of Syria. After a series of victories over the so-called “Islamic State” Iranian troops have established control over the central and eastern open districts of Syria. According to some political analysts, Iran has managed to take control of at least 50 % of the Syrian territory, both directly by the regular units of the IRGC, and indirectly with the support of “Hezbollah” and other Shiite groups.

Map of Iranian-controlled air bases in Syria (provided by the Israeli Defense Forces)
Map of Iranian-controlled air bases in Syria
(provided by the Israeli Defense Forces)

The IRGC uses several military bases in Syria which provide it with freedom of movement. For example, the airport of Tadmur (Palmyra) allows to redeploy military equipment, weapons and militias directly from Iran. Iran also uses the al-Seen airbase in southern Syria, near the city of al-Tanf, where the borders of Syria, Jordan, and Iraq converge. Near the city, there is a border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

So, the IRGC controls the areas of the Syrian-Iraqi border, which made it possible to create a permanent corridor from Iran to Syria through Iraq. In these circumstances, Tehran is able to virtually freely transfer its forces and weapons to Lebanon, which is de facto controlled by “Hezbollah”.

On the eve of the Coalition's strikes, Iran was continuing its operation to clear the occupied territory in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus. Next was the turn of new operations: Yarmouk camp, Eastern Qalamoun and al-Rastan.

But the Coalition's missile strikes have messed up all plans. A few days before the strikes, the Russian military, IRGC servicemen and militants from Shiite armed groups took all possible measures to withdraw their forces from under the strike. They succeeded, but partly.

Both, on the 14th and 16th of April, there were bombing-missile air attacks on al-Dymaur and Shayrat air bases, where intelligence units of the IRI's IRGC are based that actively use the UAVs for both reconnaissance and missile strikes on B. Assad's regime's opponents. Besides, combat helicopters of the IRGC Air Force are based at those airfields.

Combat planes of the Air Force of Israel on April 14 struck Iran's training base on Azan Mount, southern Aleppo. According to CNN, 20 Iranian officers were killed, the number of the wounded is not reported. A powerful explosion was detected on the base, probably one of the missiles hit the ammunition store. In fact, the base was destroyed.

Tel Aviv reported its 16 strikes at Iranian positions

It is known that on April 15 Kurds from the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) in the Mayadin (the right bank of the Euphrates) struck at the positions of Iranian Shiite formations. Four strikes were carried out at the positions of Iranians near Deir ez-Zor.

On the night of April 17, 2018, several air strikes were conducted by “unknown” aircraft from Lebanese airspace. It can be assumed that it was the Air Force of Israel, since after the first wave of strikes on April 14, Tel Aviv confirmed its involvement in the Coalition's operation and reported its 16 strikes at Iranian positions.

 

The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the 14th of April made a statement condemning the USA and its allies' (the UK and France) attack on Syria and called the leaders of those countries “criminals”.

Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security Alaeddin Boroujerdi told the Iranian Mehr News on April 16, 2018 that “the Coalition's operation was carried out with the aim to boost the terrorists’ morale”. “The Americans were the main plotters of the imposed war in Syria in the last 7 years as they are accompanying the Zionist regime and some European allies in an attempt to create crisis in and destabilize the region”, said A. Boroujerdi

Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security Alaeddin Boroujerdi
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi

Thus, the Coalition troops, Israel and Saudi Arabia, will continue to pursue anti-Iranian policies aimed at limiting Iran's influence on the countries of the region. It is likely that military operations will be conducted against it in order to destroy the “Shia corridor” created by Tehran in recent years.

 

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