Syria Strike Destroyed 200 Missiles, Killed 11 Iranians, Source in pro-Assad Alliance Says

Strikes likely targeted surface-to-surface missiles Iran seeks to deploy in Syria ■ Targets included 47th Brigade base, military facility in Hama and facility north of Aleppo ■ Israel's security cabinet convenes

Screen capture of the report from the Tishreen News Facebook page
Screen capture of the report from the Tishreen News Facebook pageCredit: Facebook

The Syrian army said "enemy" rockets struck military bases belonging to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Syrian state TV reported.

An official from a regional alliance including Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, said Monday that the strikes killed 16 people, among them 11 Iranians, according to the New York Times. The report said the bombardment also destroyed 200 missiles. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was permitted to speak to the press.

A report on a Syrian newspaper's facebook page attributed the attack to the U.S. and Britain. Media outlets affiliated with the Syrian opposition claim 38 government soldiers were killed in the strike in Hama, with an additional 57 wounded.

UPDATE: Strike likely targeted surface-to-surface missiles Iran seeks to deploy in Syria

According to several Syrian media outlets, the strikes targeted the 47th Brigade base in the southern Hama district, a military facility in northwestern Hama and a facility north of the Aleppo International Airport.

A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said Sunday's attack targeted a warehouse for missiles and killed 26 people, mostly Iranians and Iraqis. Iran's Tasnim News agency, quoting unnamed source, denied reports of rockets hitting an Iranian military base in Syria, killing Iranian advisers.

Sources in Syria reported explosions in military bases near the districts of Hama and Aleppo on Sunday night. Some Syrian media outlets associated with the Assad regime claim Israel is responsible for the attack.

The area of the earthquake according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological CentreCredit: European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre

Israel's security cabinet is convening on Monday following the airstrike. The session was unscheduled, and Ministers were told it would pertain to the Iran nuclear deal. Developments on the topic are reportedly being presented.

Over the last several weeks, a row of diplomats and intelligence community members from countries involved in the deal have visited Israel, as U.S. President Donald Trump's May 12 deadline to reimpose sanctions on Iran - effectively killing the nuclear deal- draws near.

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Bashar Assad said Monday that the whole regional map is being redrawn, and that powers opposing Syria went from a phase of indirect aggression through supporting the rebels, to a direct attack after the failure and defeat they suffered on Syrian soil.

Speaking during a meeting in Damascus with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, Assad added that this move only empowered the Syrian's people dedication to continue combating terrorist organizations.

The targeted bases were manned by the Syrian army, as well as Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and housed several missile warehouses, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar. The report adds that several dozen were wounded and evacuated to nearby hospitals. According to the report, Bunker Buster bombs were used, which makes it likely the launch was airborne.

In the past, several critics have associated Al Akhbar with the Iranian-backed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, as well as the Assad regime.

The Syrian newspaper Tishreen reported on its facebook page that the attack was carried out by nine ballistic missiles fired from U.S. and British military bases in northern Jordan. This has yet to be verified or confirmed by any other source at this time.

Reports say that dozens loyal to the Syrian regime were killed in the explosion. Contrary to recent attacks on the Assad regime, after which the Syrian army reported its defense systems shot down some of the missiles, no such claims were made after the strike.

The Iranian news agency Tasnim quoted the commander of the Iranian-backed Afghan militia Fatemiyoun as saying the the military base near the northwestern city of Aleppo is unharmed, as are his forces.

Syrian state TV says successive blasts were heard in the Hama province and authorities are investigating the response. Shortly after the explosions, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the blasts caused a 2.6 magnitude earthquake in the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said shelling targeted a Syrian army base, home to the 47th Brigade, near the city of Salhab, west of Hama, where Iranian forces are also stationed.

The monitor said rockets also hit Syrian government bases in the region surrounding Nairab military airport, which is close to Aleppo International Airport.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the rocket fire, the Observatory said.

President Trump spoke on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a White House readout. It said they "discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities." The call took place just hours before Netanyahu met for the first time with Trump's new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who is visiting the Middle East.

Earlier Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel will maintain freedom of operation in Syria.

“We have no intention to attack Russia or to interfere in domestic Syrian issues,” Lieberman said at the annual Jerusalem Post conference. “But if somebody thinks that it is possible to launch missiles or to attack Israel or even our aircraft, no doubt we will respond and we will respond very forcefully.”

The remarks came less than a month after a strike on an air force compound in Syria that is under exclusive Iranian control – a strike attributed by Syria, Iran, and Russia to Israel. Several members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in the strike. This past Tuesday, Lieberman said Israel might strike the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems in Syria if they are used against Israel.

At Sunday's conference, Lieberman said that Israel has three problems: “Iran, Iran, Iran.”

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