Israel hints it could hit Iran's 'air force' in Syria

The Japan Times

JERUSALEM – Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate. Iran, along with Damascus and its big-power backer Russia, blamed Israel for an April 9 airstrike on a Syrian air base, T-4, that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Iranian officials have promised unspecified reprisals. Israeli media ran satellite images and a map of five Syrian air bases allegedly used to field Iranian drones or cargo aircraft, as well as the names of three senior IRGC officers suspected of commanding related projects, such as missile units. The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites.

Iran Threatens Israel Over Airstrike in Syria

NYT > Middle East

A senior Iranian foreign policy official warned Israel on Tuesday that its strike on an air base in Syria that killed several Iranians would "not remain without a response," the Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen reported. Seven Iranian military personnel were killed on Monday in the strike on the Tiyas, or T4, air base near Homs, according to the Iranian news agency Tasnim. The semiofficial Fars news agency initially said that three were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but the report was later withdrawn without explanation. Syria, Iran and Russia have accused Israel of mounting the attack, though Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement. Israel has carried out several strikes in Syria in the past, some aimed at stopping what it says is a military buildup by Iran and its regional ally, Hezbollah, along the Syrian-Israeli border.

Iranian Drone Launched From Syria was Armed, Israel Says

NYT > Middle East

A drone that took off from Syria and penetrated Israeli airspace in February was armed and on an Iranian mission to carry out an attack in Israeli territory, the Israeli military said Friday. The drone was shattered by helicopter gunships, preventing the attack, according to the military, which did not disclose the supposed target. The February episode set off a day of intense battle, escalating the conflict between Israel and Iran, one of several overlapping conflicts in the Syrian war. Israel's announcement on Friday, hours before the American-led strikes against Syria, added another element of volatility into an already tense region. The strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France against three chemical weapons storage and research facilities did little to assuage Israel's concerns about the Iranian buildup across its northern frontier, according to experts, and the announcement could be intended to bolster Israel's case for taking its own military action against Iran's presence in Syria.

Iran, Deeply Embedded in Syria, Expands 'Axis of Resistance'

NYT > Middle East

When an Iranian drone flew into Israeli airspace this month, it set off a rapid series of strikes and counterstrikes that deepened fears over whether a new, catastrophic war was brewing in the Middle East.

Pentagon to use AI to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Daily Mail

The Pentagon has revealed a new AI system designed to lead the hunt for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Codenamed Project Maven, it will analyse aerial surveillance video to look for patterns that can help operators. It comes as military bosses say the thousands of military and civilian intelligence analysts are'overwhelmed' by the amount of video being recorded over the battlefield by drones with high resolution cameras. A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle: Military bosses say intelligence analysts are'overwhelmed' by the amount of video being recorded over the battlefield by drones with high resolution cameras. 'We have to tackle the problem a different way,' Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T.'Jack' Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighter support, and the man tasked with finding the new technology, told Defense One.