Iranian backed militias are constructing an underground tunnel believed to be used to smuggle arms and military equipment, images taken by intelligence satellites revealed Tuesday.
An intelligence report published by ImageSat International (ISI) provided footage documenting larger scale excavation works along the Syria-Iraq border, apparently conducted by pro-Iranian militias in the area.
It is estimated that the tunnel is dug in order to bypass the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq, an area which was the target of a number of Israeli strikes in recent weeks. The latest aerial attack in the area occurred on Sunday, with at least five men belonging to pro-Iranian militias reported to have been killed in a pre-dawn raid.
The tunnel is believed to be constructed in order to store and smuggle weapons, including missiles, as well as equipment and militia soldiers.
According to Fox News, the digging of the tunnel is overseen by the Al-Quds Division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The first image of the construction was taken on October 5, but some two weeks later a thatch roof appears to have been built above the site, possibly to cover up the activities there.
Huge mounds of earth were seen at the other end of the tunnel.
Al-Quds forces have over the past months intensified their efforts to smuggle advanced weaponry into Syria and Lebanon.
Security officials worry the weapons and equipment will be moved along the northern end of the Syria-Iraq border, where U.S. troops had been stationed before the Trump administration made an abrupt decision to withdraw the forces several months ago.
Israeli officials estimate the Iranians will not turn a blind eye on further Israeli strikes in the area and might retaliate through their proxies in Syria by firing rockets or launching explosive drones, similarly to the attack on Saudi refineries last September, allegedly carried out by Iran, 300 km from the Saudi-Iranian border.
First published: 20:19 , 12.10.19