Air defenses in central Syria were activated on Sunday night in an attack on the T-4 airbase that Arab media attributed to Israel.
Syria’s state-controlled SANA news agency published a report stating that the defenses downed several missiles and “damaged one of the attacking aircraft and forced the rest to leave the airspace.” The media outlet also reported that the base was damaged in the attack. The report claimed the planes, flying at extremely low altitude, entered Syrian airspace via Jordan, flying through the al-Tanaf area, where US forces have a base. The report stated that at least six missiles succeeded in hitting the base.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), told AFP that the missile bombardment killed an unspecified number of “Iranian and pro-regime fighters” at the T-4 base and was “likely to be Israeli.” The SOHR also reported that Lebanese Hezbollah troops were stationed at the base as well.
Though the Israeli government does not, as a rule, comment on military operations outside of Israel, they have admitted to attacking the T-4 airbase several times in the past which they claim is being used by the Iranian military.
In February, a drone armed with explosives entered Israeli airspace from Syria and was immediately shot down. The drone was identified as being of Iranian manufacture and the IAF retaliated by attacking the T-4 base, the source of the drone attack. At least seven Iranian military personnel were reported killed in the attack.
On May 10, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s al-Quds Force fired 32 rockets at the Golan Heights. The Iron Dome system shot down four missiles and the rest fell short, failing to cross into Israel. In response, the IAF attacked Iranian military targets in Syria and destroyed a number of Syrian air defense installations.
“At the meeting, I will reiterate the two basic principles of Israel’s policy: First, we will not tolerate the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies anywhere in Syria – not close to the border and not far away from it. Second, we will demand that Syria, and the Syrian military, strictly uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.”