In an apparent threat, an Israeli intelligence firm on Tuesday released photographs of what it said is an Iranian tunnel being dug along the Syria-Iraq border to assist in the movement of weapons throughout the Middle East.
According to the private satellite image analysis company ImageSat International, the tunnel is likely being used to store Iranian missiles en route to Tehran’s proxies throughout the region. In some cases in the past, suspected areas of Iranian military entrenchment have been identified and publicized by ImageSat International shortly before the sites were targeted in airstrikes attributed to Israel.
The tunnel, whose entrance can be seen in satellite images, is located on a suspected Iranian military base, known as the Imam Ali base, in Syria’s Boukamal region, near the Iraqi border. The base has been the site of several Israeli airstrikes in the past year, including some in the past few days, according to Syrian media.
ImageSat said the tunnel appears to have been built in response to these airstrikes, as a means to protect high-quality munitions from Israeli attacks.
“Currently, the estimated tunnel’s width is 4-5 meters and its length is unknown. Due to the area’s rigid flat terrain, it is unlikely that the tunnel will be extended significantly,” it wrote in its report.
The firm said the capacity makes it large enough to “securely store weapon systems, possibly advanced, for protecting them from airstrikes.”
The Boukamal region in Syria is seen as critical to Tehran’s effort to establish a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and out to the Mediterranean Sea in order to more easily move weapons and fighters throughout the Middle East. Israel has vowed to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel was taking action to force Iran’s military out of Syria.
“We are telling the Iranians: Syria will become your Vietnam,” he said, referring to the disastrous American war.
“If you don’t leave, you will become entrenched and you will bleed because we will work without hesitation to remove aggressive forces from Syria,” Bennett said.