Iranian arms convoys in Syria destroyed

Unidentified aircraft struck Iranian weapon shipments in Syria three separate times within 48 hours, killing 11 Iranian-backed militiamen of non-Syrian nationalities.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

The transports were said to include sophisticated weaponry en route to the Iranian-proxy al-Fatemiyoun Brigades in Al-Mayadeen in the eastern countryside of Deir az-Zor in the western Euphrates area. The Brigades, consisting of Shi’ite Afghan militants, have pledged allegiance to the Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and are primarily entrusted to execute smuggling from Iraq into Syria under guidance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the rounds of airstrikes began on Sunday, 29 January. Seven drivers of trucks loaded with Iranian-made arms were killed when they were targeted near Al-Hari area of Al-Bukamal City just after having crossed over the border with Iraq.

Activists belonging to the London-based war monitor reported seeing International Coalition drones hovering over the area and ambulances rushing to the targeted site. The United States-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) also continues to conduct airstrikes against remaining Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Syria.

Ten others were killed, also on Sunday, when their  weapons convey was struck en route to eastern Syria.

The third strike was launched yesterday in the Al-Suwayyah town in the Al-Bukamal countryside,east of Deir az-Zor, on an oil tanker loaded with weapons and ammunition of Iranian-backed militias, killing one person – just days after the SOHR cited reliable sources said vehicles belonging to the Iranian proxy Hezbollah arrived in the area led by the terror group’s “military dignitaries” and “several of his accompanies.”

Western intelligence sources say the Islamic Republic has stepped up aerial weapons shipments to its terrorist proxies, including Hezbollah, in attempts to evade IDF strikes on overland ground convoys amid Israel’s escalation to eliminate Iranian-linked targets inside Syria as part of the “shadow war” between the two arch-foes. Research centers for weapons development and munitions depots operated by IRGC have particularly been in the IDF’s crosshairs.

While the IDF generally refuses to comment on alleged operations against suspected Iranian-sponsored weapons transfers and personnel deployments, Then-IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi revealed late last month that Israel has conducted near weekly operations against Iranian smuggling efforts that have succeeded in “entirely closing off” most of the air, sea, and ground and ground routes. He also effectively assumed responsibility for an aerial bombardment on an Iranian convoy that sought to cross the border from Iraq into Syria in an 8 November attack that Iraqi officials destroyed two fuel trucks.

Seeking to highlight Israel’s qualitative military edge in attaining pinpoint intelligence on attempts by the Islamic Republic to smuggle weapons to its regional terrorist proxies, Gen. Kochavi stressed the IDF is routinely successful in “disrupting the pace” of deliveries to both the Syrians and the Hezbollah terror organization.

Iranian leaders have frequently threatened to annihilate the Jewish State.

Jerusalem officials have acknowledged mounting hundreds of attacks on Iranian-linked targets in Syria from which the Islamic Republic and its proxies have tried to attack neighboring Israel over the last decade, repeatedly stating that Iran’s presence just over the northern frontier will not be tolerated.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has never publicly acknowledged that Iranian forces operate on Syrian soil, claiming Tehran only has military advisors on the ground to help battle insurgents in the civil war that has raged since 2011.