Foreign media reported over the weekend that Israeli forces attacked an Iranian military base in Syria. The incident reportedly occurred Friday night, with IDF planes attacking the Iranian base at al-Kiswah, south of Damascus. According to the reports, Syrian forces fired back at the Israeli forces. The base is said to be under construction, but activities there have increased in recent months, according to the media reports.
A Lebanese report said that 12 Iranians were killed in the attack. Iran has not commented on the incident.
Syrian media reported Saturday that the “Israeli enemy fired missiles at an army base outside Damascus.” The report added that “our defense forces destroyed two enemy targets.” The Israeli attack, the report said, caused damage to the base. The Israeli planes were said to have come from the direction of Lebanon. According to the reports, the damage to the base was heavy.
Israel had no comment on the report, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had recorded a statement last week that was presented at the Saban Forum, taking place in Washington this weekend, that Israel “will not allow Iran to base itself in Syria and threaten Israel.” Reports earlier in November said that foreign reports said that IDF planes had bombed several targets in Syria, striking weapons warehouses in the town of Hasya, near the Syria-Lebanon border. Israel has not confirmed that attack either.
Israel has grown deeply alarmed by Iran’s expanding clout during the conflict, and has warned it would act against any threat from its regional foe Tehran.
Iran has provided critical support to President Bashar al-Assad’s military in fighting Syrian rebels and Islamic State terrorists. Iran-backed Shiite militias, including Hezbollah, have helped Damascus regain control of swathes of the country.
A report last month said that Iran was building a permanent military base in southern Syria. The base is being built at a site near the town of El-Kiswah, 14 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Israel-Syria border on the Golan Heights. The report was based on intelligence from “Western security sources,” the report said. In satellite images published by the BBC, several buildings that appear to be storage facilities – for vehicles or weapons – are seen along a staging ground, with other buildings, one of them appearing to be a headquarters, adjacent. According to the images, construction is at an advanced stage.