Satellite imagery released on Tuesday show signs of a tunnel being dug at an Iranian base on the Syria-Iraq border, which an intelligence report compiled by ImageSat International said appears appropriate for storing advanced weapons systems and large vehicles to protect them from aerial attacks.
Construction of the Imam Ali base was first reported in September, and a week later it was attacked by drones. The site is near the Albukamal Al-Qaim border crossing.
Israel-based ImageSat International said work on the tunnel was accelerated a few weeks after the base was attacked the first time, on September 9. It estimated the tunnel to be four to five meters wide, with an unknown length. Because the ground in the area is flat and hard, it is unlikely the tunnel will be expanded greatly in the future, the report said.
It is possible that the excavation began as a result of lessons learned from previous attacks, it adds.
The fact that Iran is building a new base on the Syria-Iraq border was first reported in September by Fox News. The base is meant to house thousands of troops and precision munitions and missiles. The report, attributed to Western intelligence officials, says the base's construction was approved by Iranian leaders and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is overseeing the construction.
A week after the report on the base being built, Syrian opposition forces reported that drones had attacked Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 18 people were killed in that attack which targeted a militia convoy.