Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Israel Destroyed Several Iranian Arms Convoys in Iraq

Israel Destroyed Several Iranian Arms Convoys in Iraq

Tuesday, 14 June, 2022 - 05:15
This photo released Sunday June 12, 2022 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a bulldozer work at a damaged runway of the Damascus International Airport, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Friday, in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)

Israel has carried out numerous strikes against truck convoys smuggling Iranian weapons to the Hezbollah party in Lebanon, revealed an Israeli source.

Israel would target the convoys as they were making their way from Iraq to Syria and carry out the strike in either country.

The announcement was made after Israel last week struck Damascus' old international airport, causing "significant" damage to infrastructure and rendered the main runway unserviceable until further notice.

The airport is located south of the capital Damascus where Syrian opposition activists say Iran-backed militiamen are active and have arms depots.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has for years been closely monitoring the transport of weapons to Hezbollah, continued the source.

At first, Israel used to target the weapons depots in Lebanon or Syria, but the military command has since ordered that the convoys be destroyed before they reach their destination, it continued.

Several Iranian convoys would make their way to Lebanon through Iraq and Syria and Israeli commandos would lie in wait to ambush them. Some convoys were destroyed in Iraq, others in Syria and some at the Lebanese border.

Security sources in Tel Aviv revealed that the Iranians then significantly reduced the transfer of weapons by land and have resorted to transporting them through air military cargo or even by sea.

Israeli strikes on Syria would often target these shipments as soon as they are unloaded at Syrian army depots.

Iran has recently started to deliver these shipments through passenger flights to Damascus' old airport. The shipments carry less quantities of weapons, but the arms are more sophisticated than before, according to Israel's Channel 12.

Israeli military officials had previously expressed their concern over the delivery of such sophisticated weapons, including modern drones and precision-guided missiles, to Lebanon.

Israel has therefore, intensified its operations against Iran because it believes such arms would create a strategic imbalance in the region.

Israel estimates that its latest attacks have destroyed 70 percent of arms shipments smuggled from Iran to Syria and Lebanon. The 30 percent that have reached their destination "pose a major threat," warned Israeli military officials.

Channel 12 reported that Israel had informed Russia of its intended strike on Damascus airport last week to avoid a clash.

Israeli media on Monday said last week's strike was not only a message to the Iranians - that Israel is watching them - but also a strong one to Bashar al-Assad's regime that it will pay a heavy price if it continues to allow Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria.

Editor Picks