Israel smashed Iranian-operated installations in Syria

On the 9-10 May night, retaliating to a mass attack by Iranian rockets on Israeli positions in the Golan region, the Israeli armed forces fired a large number of missiles on Iranian operated installations in Syria.

Israel smashed Iranian operated installations in Syria Israeli Air Force F-15I (Picture source: Israeli Air Force via Jewish Business News)

On May 9, 2018, the Quds force, a special force wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, stationed in Syria, shot 20 rockets towards IDF posts in the Golan Heights. The IDF intercepted four of the rockets, preventing casualties and damage.

According to The War Zone, five types of Syrian air defense systems were destroyed in the barrage, which included 60 weapons. Ten of those were surface-to-surface missiles. These could have been mix or guided artillery rockets, ground-launched Delilah-GL cruise missiles, and Spike NLOS missiles among others. The Delilah is a cruise missile developed in Israel by Israel Military Industries (IMI), built to target moving and re-locatable targets with a CEP of 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) at a maximum range of 250 km.

During the operation, Syrian SA-22, SA-2, SA-5, and SA-17 batteries were destroyed. The SA-22 unit, a Pantsir-S1 point defense system (SA-22 according to the NATO designation), is the most interesting of the lot as it represents the best air defense capability Syria has against standoff weapon attacks on key targets.

In total, as The War Zone reports, Israel used 28 F-16C/D/I Sufa and F-15I (F-15E Strike Eagle) fighter aircraft to execute the strikes. All of the IDF’s fighter jets returned to their bases safely. A KC-707 tanker supported the F-16Is.

It seems fairly clear that the IAF was ready and waiting for a rocket barrage to occur in the days and hours that led up to the attack. Israeli press repeatedly warned that the IDF was tracking peculiar movements across the border in Syria and Israeli tankers were on station over eastern Israel for some time before the attack occurred. Above all else, the sheer size and brevity of the revenge strikes indicate a large pre-planned operation that would hit most known Iranian-related targets in Syria was ready and waiting to be executed. In total 23 were killed in Syria, 18 of which were foreign fighters according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It's also worth noting that Russia was informed well ahead of the counter-attack.

Israel considers the matter closed at this time but said it would retaliate heavily if attacked again.  Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the IDF targeted "nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria" and that Iran "needs to remember the saying that if it rains on us, it'll storm on them. I hope we've finished this episode and everyone understood." He continued, stating that Israel "won't let anyone attack us or build an infrastructure to attack us in the future."

The extent of the damage done to Iranian interests in Syria still hasn't been quantified, but Israel's overwhelming response was clearly designed to deter further Iranian military operations against Israel. The big question now is how, or if Iran will respond to the Israeli retaliation?