New satellite photos show airstrikes on secret missile facility in Syria

New images reveal evidence of an attack on a secretive missile facility in Syria. The photos, released by ImageSat International on Sunday, show that two structures at Al-Safirah missile factory near Aleppo were hit. ISI assessed an intelligence report that this attack was “intended to weaken the missile production in Syria.” It also says that this factory may have been producing missiles for Hezbollah. Crucial “elements” of the site were hit.  

ImageSat International frequently reveals important information using satellites about sensitive sites and airstrikes like this. On September 3, they also revealed images of an airstrike at Damascus International Airport. The Syrian regime and its media have blamed Israel for some airstrikes over the last several years. On September 3, ISI said that the strike could send a “strategic message to Tehran.” ISI also revealed that a blast at a secretive missile facility in Iran in June at Khojir likely temporarily halted missile production.  Photos by ImageSat International (ISI) show recent airstrikes on Syria.

At Al-Safirah the airstrike took place on September 11. It came a week after two other airstrikes in Syria that regime media and others reported. At Al-Safirah ISI assesses that structured played a role in missile production. “The facility, which probably contained explosives was destroyed.” A second structure, that may have had machinery, was damaged. 

The images make it hard to determine what these buildings were. The buildings look like two-story structures. They are not fancy and they do not stand out. They are off a roads apparently part of a larger facility. Many Syrian regime facilities like this look the same. They are not, in this sense, interesting to look at. This fits the model of Iran’s network of missile production facilities across the region. Iran has trafficked missiles to Iraq. It has sent precision guided munitions to Hezbollah via Syria. It has also sought to help Hezbollah build factories in Lebanon. Israel’s former Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said in January 2009 that Israel carried out more than 1,000 airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria.  

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Al-Safirah has been struck before, according to local accounts. It was hit in May when Syrian air defense tried to stop an airstrike. In April 2019 an alleged Syrian surface to surface missile site near Masyaf was struck, causing damage to a factory. ISI also published satellite photos of the site. It assessed that it was constructed between 2014 and 2016. This shows the extraordinary number of these kinds of sites, many allegedly linked to or controlled by Iran. Iran has recently announced new longer ranges for missiles, cruise missiles and drones as well as better guidance and drones as well as air defense systems. Iran tried to send its 3rd Khordad air defense system to Syria in April 2018, Ynet has reported. In addition, Iran built the Imam Ali base near Albukamal near the Iraqi border. That site has also been hit by airstrikes many times. Iran also uses a network to smuggle weapons via the T-2 and T-3 and T-4 bases in Syria. On September 3, 2020 Arabic media accused Israel of a strike on the T-4 base near Palmyra. The same site was reported by Syrian media to have been hit in April and July 2018.  

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