As the US and Turkey got started on a new air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, the jhadis pulled off their most devastating attack yet on the Syrian army’s biggest arsenal. They subjected the giant Al-Safira military complex north of Aleppo to a steady blitz of an estimated 50 Grad missiles from Monday night to Tuesday, July 28.
debkafile’s military sources report that Facility No.790, a large depot of the Syrian army’s strategic weapons, including chemicals, was set on fire and flattened.
Al Safira was important and big enough to be guarded by 1,800 members of the Syrian Air Force’s elite intelligence unit (not part of the air force) which comes under the direct command of President Bashar Assad.
Wednesday morning, flames continued to burn over the facility and explosions still shook buildings far away.
Some sources attributed the attack to Turkish Air Force bombers. In fact, it was the Islamic State which kept the complex under steady Grad missile fire, that was precise enough to raise suspicions of an inside leak betraying the exact locations of key targets, including subterranean structures, workshops for manufacture and repairs and large stockpiles of weapons.
Our sources list the items and sections of the Al-Safira military complex which ISIS demolished:
- The Syrian army’s strategic stock of Scud D surface missiles.
- Parts of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons production plant and stocks.
- The production line for “barrel bombs” newly set up by Iranian engineers, which had become the most frequently used Syrian air force’s weapon against rebel forces.
- A big helicopter pad where the Syrian choppers would load up on barrel bombs and distribute them among air bases across the country.
- The storage facilities in a part of the base known as the “Suleiman area” which housed chemical artillery shells.
- Many Iranian engineers and technicians were known to be present at Al Safira at the time of the attack. No information is available on casualties.
Our military sources say that never in the course of the four years plus of the Syrian conflict has the Assad regime’s army suffered a loss on this scale of its essential stock of hardware. It will undoubtedly affect its combat effectiveness and especially its fire power.