TEL AVIV — A series of blasts were reported on Friday in the vicinity of a military airbase that is reportedly controlled in part by Iran in Hama in northwestern Syria.
There was no immediate information available about the cause of the blasts.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is routinely utilized as a credible source by the news media, reported on “successive and violent explosions” heard in and near Hama city coming from the area of the military base.
The monitor reported on a plume of smoke which could be seen from Hama and the city’s outskirts. The Observatory reported that 11 members of Syrian forces were killed and dozens more were wounded. The monitor said foreigners were among the casualties, a possible reference to Iranian forces.
“The explosions struck several regime depots of weapons and fuel at Hama military airport,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory.
Images and video circulating on Twitter show the “massive” blast:
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) May 18, 2018
Official state-run Syrian media also posted material about the explosions.
Sky News Arabia ran a report saying the explosions were caused by an attack on an Iranian air defense system. The Lebanese el-Nashra TV station quoted Syrian military sources claiming the explosions were the result of a “technical malfunction” at a weapons storage facility.
The Hama air base was the target of an April 29 bomb raid widely attributed to Israel. According to reports, 26 pro-regime fighters, mostly Iranians, were killed in that strike.
Earlier this month, Iranian forces in Syria fired a volley of about 20 rockets aimed at IDF positions in the Golan Heights – the first time Iran was implicated indirectly rocketing Israel. In response, the IDF hit Iranian bases during an Israeli bombing campaign that marked the largest IDF action inside Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The exchanges followed numerous airstrikes in Syria attributed to Israel targeting Iran-run bases in territory controlled by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Those strikes came after Iran brazenly dispatched an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into Israeli territory in February before it was quickly shot down by the Israeli military.
An IDF investigation revealed the Iranian drone, sent from the Iran-run T-4 airbase in Syria, was carrying explosives and seemingly deployed to attack an Israeli target.