In Israel’s latest airstrike in Syria on Sunday, Feb. 13, a missile is said to have penetrated the secret bunker in which Iranian precision missile and attack drone specialists were conferring with their Syrian and Hizballah allies. The attack was first revealed on Wednesday, Feb. 22, by Syrian military sources and Western media in unusual detail.
Damascus, while routinely reporting Israeli air strikes, rarely enlarges on their targets. This time, apparently on the advice from Tehran and Damascus, Syrian media ran photos showing the exact moment when the Israeli rocket drove into the bunker of a building at a military facility in Damascus where the meeting took place. (See attached photo). The Syrians first claimed there were no Iranian casualties in the attack, a claim contested by non-Syrian sources, which report at least 15 dead.
According to one source in Damascus a Syrian engineer was killed in the attack and an Iranian officer was injured although, it was emphasized, he was “not high-ranking.”
Syrian intelligence sources then revealed that the slain Syrian engineer was on the staff of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which develops new weaponry, and that three Iranians were present and came out unhurt.
The Damascus bunker meeting was apparently set up during Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani secret visit to Syria from Feb. 8 to Feb. 13, accompanied by his deputy, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Their last meeting was with President Bashar Assad who came to Aleppo for a long conversation with his Iranian visitors at the local international airport.
Clearly, Israeli intelligence was au fait with their plan, its timing, participants and venue, indicating contacts troubling to Tehran with at the highest level of Iranian authority. Perhaps to decision to disclose details of Israel’s feat was meant as a message to Israel to stop there.