On April 9, Israel’s ImageSat International released a satellite image revealing the devastating results of the recent Israeli strike on al-Sha’irat Air Base in central Syria.
Satellite images revealed damage to a key Syrian regime airbase on April 8. The site was struck on March 31.
ImageSat International, which published the images, noted that it had revealed “evidence of a massive strike in Shayrat Airbase, located in Homs, Syria.” No country has claimed responsibility. Syria’s SANA state media blamed Israel and claimed Syrian air defense downed numerous incoming missiles on the night of the attack.
ImageSat International says that their report “shows 6-7 hits on the runway and access routes and additional two on navigation systems.” The Syrians or their allies who may use the runaway are already repairing it. The images were produced on April 8 and published the next day.
The airstrikes was probably intended to lockout Shayran airbase operations, ISI notes. This would interdict weapons transfers from Iran to Syria. Iran supplies the Syrian regime and allied forces in Syria, as well as Hezbollah.
The Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) failed to repel the Israeli aerial attack, that was reportedly launched from Lebanon’s airspace. Nevertheless, work is underway to repair the air base.
According to ImageSat’s assessment, the strike was meant to knock the al-Sha’irat Air Base out of service, preventing the arrival of new weapon shipments from Iran. Al-Sha’irat and the nearby T4 Air Base received many cargo planes coming from Iran recently.
In the last few months, the Israeli military shifted its attention from southern Syria to the country’s central region. Most of the recent attacks were launched from Lebanon’s airspace. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been operating freely over Lebanon since the 80s.
Unless the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) limits the IAF’s movement over Lebanon, the attacks on the central region will likely continue.
The base is located about 140km north of Damascus and about 150km south of the important Russian airbase at Khmeimim in Latakia. It is near the Lebanese border and town of Qusayr where Hezbollah helped the Syrian regime in 2012. It is less than 100 km from another sensitive Syrian facility at Masyaf which was hit by airstrikes in 2017, allegedly an area of chemical weapons and other facilities. It is also south of a weapons facility being built near Baniyas. That puts Shayrat in a sensitive position between a whole series of important bases, facilities and sensitive areas.