Mystery Explosions at ‘Iranian Base’ in Syria Register As Earthquake

By Patrick Goodenough | April 30, 2018 | 4:09 AM EDT

A photograph posted on social media purportedly shows massive explosions southeast of Hama, Syria on Saturday night. (Photo: Bassam Jaara/Twitter)

(CNSNews.com) – An Iranian military base and arms depot in northern Syria reportedly came under missile attack on Saturday night, triggering explosions so powerful they registered as a 2.6 magnitude earthquake.

The state news agency SANA reported only that enemy projectiles had targeted “military positions in the countryside of Hama and Aleppo provinces” around 10:30 PM, and that military “authorities are working to identify the cause of the explosions.”

Posts on social media put some of the explosions at a location around 10 miles southeast of Hama, in a place called “Mountain 47” (Jabal 47), near a village named Taqsees. Video clips showed what appeared to be massive secondary explosions.

At the same time, the France-based European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, citing seismological data from Turkey and Lebanon, reported a 2.6 magnitude quake at 10:40 PM, 10 miles south-east of Hama.

On Twitter, Bassam Jaara, an exiled Syrian opposition activist, posted photos of distant explosions and identified one target as a camp for the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and allied sectarian militia.

Jaara said the shelling – from an unknown source but “believed to be Israeli” – resulted in a “large number” of deaths. There was no confirmation of either.

Iranian state-funded Press TV reported that “the origins of the attacks are still unclear, but come several weeks after Russia and Syria said Israeli warplanes struck an air base in the Syrian province of Homs.”

But another Iranian outlet, the state-owned Tasnim news agency, cited “some Syrian media sources” as saying nine missiles had been fired from U.S. and British forces in northern Jordan.

The U.S., Britain and France on April 13 launched coordinated missile strikes from warships and aircraft on the three Syrian regime chemical weapons-linked installations.

Up to now, known U.S. military actions against regime and affiliated targets in Syria have been the two major missile strikes – on April 13 and one year earlier, after a previous chemical weapons attack blamed on the regime – and counterattacks on pro-regime forces which threatened its SDF allies in Deir-ez-Zor province.

While the Pentagon discloses its military actions, Israel is frequently mum over its attacks inside Syria, including an airstrike against an Iranian airbase in Homs province known as T4 on April 9.

In general, however, Israel makes it clear it’s ready and willing to act to prevent Iran or the Iranian-backed terrorist militia Hezbollah from strengthening their positions near Israeli territory.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying Israel would not “remain a bystander” as the Iranian threat near its borders grows.

“Iran, through the Revolutionary Guards, is trying to create a new reality around us with Iranian air and naval bases in Syria, with Shi’ite militias with thousands of mercenaries and precision weapons being produced in Lebanon,” he said.

Tehran has been vowing to retaliate against Israel for the April 9 T4 attack, which according to Iranian state media killed seven Iranian military advisors. Last Friday IRGC second-in-command, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, warned Israel that a war would result in its complete annihilation.

The powerful blasts on Saturday night came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with President Trump. According to a White House readout, the two discussed “challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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