An attack on a Syrian military airbase, which was run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on Sunday was described as a “strong message” to Iran, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.
A source familiar with the incident told the Post that the airstrike sent a “strong message” to Iran that it “must get out entirely from Syria, not only keep away from the border [with Israel].” According to the same source, several Iranian-backed militia members were harmed in the airstrike.
Syrian rebel sources claimed that 22 people, including 9 Iranians, were killed in the airstrike, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday. The number of dead could not be confirmed. An earlier report claimed that only 9 people were killed in all.
An Israeli company released satellite images of the airport showing that a building at the base was destroyed in the attack.
According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the base was used for logistical purposes — being a hub to distribute supplies and food to pro-Assad forces. It was not believed to store munitions.
While Israel is believed to carry out airstrikes inside Syria to prevent Iran from establishing a military foothold there or prevent Hezbollah from obtaining game-changing weapons, it rarely has been credited with striking targets as far north as Aleppo.
The raid came just before a summit between United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they discussed Syria. While the two leaders announced that they had an agreement to act in Syria in a way that would protect Israel’s security, some commentators doubt that Putin has any interest in forcing Iran to leave Syria.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro wrote Tuesday that in the wake of summit, Israeli would have to “ensure its interests are protected.”
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