April 10, 2018

The Israeli air force bombed the Tiyas airbase, known as T4, near the Syrian city of Homs on April 9, reportedly killing 14 people. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’s Qods Force (IRGC-QF) apparently had prior knowledge of the air strike and, therefore, was able to evacuate its senior military advisers from the area. However, seven members of the IRGC died in the attack, and another seven were injured.

Ali Shamkhani

Subsequently, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev made an unscheduled visit to Tehran on April 10 to discuss Israel’s attack with Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and a group of senior IRGC commanders.

Kayhan-London understands that one of the issues discussed in the meeting was the inability of the Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense system to intercept Israeli missiles. In the wake of the recent Israeli attack, the Iranian military is concerned about the defense capability of its S-300 missile system.

The army top brass is apparently unhappy that Defense Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami (of the regular army) was not at the meeting. Speaking at a memorial service held in Tabriz on April 9 to mark the 18th anniversary of the death of Ali Sayad Shirazi, commander of the army’s ground forces (assassinated in 1999), General Hatami, said: “Enemies had better not test our defense capabilities. Any miscalculations on their part will cost them dearly.” He added: “The courageous soldiers of the Islamic Republic will deliver a decisive defeat to the enemy.”

IRGC commanders who were at the meeting apparently asked Mr. Lavrentiev to investigate a report about two Israeli F-35 fighters violating Iranian airspace in recent days.