Iran to Syria route is open now.


"The first Iranian military convoy crossed into Syria coming from Iraq through the Tell al-Badi crossing during this week, the UK-based news outlet the New Arab reported on December 16.

A senior Iraqi official told the New Arab that the Iranian military convoy consisted of 20 covered trucks carrying an unknown load. The official added that the convoy was escorted by fighters and commanders of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iraqi Hezbollah and Hezbollah al-Nujaba.

“A convoy of 20 mud-covered, unmarked vehicles crossed into Syria after being let through checkpoints manned by the PMU … The cars were transporting Iranian and Iraqi forces to fight alongside the Assad regime. I believe this could signal the activation of the long-planned Tehran-Damascus road,” the Iraqi official told the New Arab.

If these claims are true, this can be considered as a huge achievement for Iran and its allies, mainly Lebanese Hezbollah. For the last four years, Iran was shipping weapons and ammunition to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah through an air route. This method allowed Israel to identify, track and target Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah easily, as only few cargo airplanes land in Syrian airports every day.

However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies."  SF


Israeli air attacks against vehicles moving from Iran to Syria along this route, but it is a mighty victory for Iranian strategy in the region.  An alternative route for commercial traffic will be through the Jordanian panhandle and across the  border in the Daraa area.  pl

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28 Responses to Iran to Syria route is open now.

  1. kooshy says:

    Like Gomer Pyle “surprise, surprise, surprise “
    “ISIS may have obtained anti-tank missiles from the CIA”

  2. GeneO says:

    IMO this first convoy contains reinforcements to retake areas on route #4 that were lost by Iran-backed militias after the Tiger Force had initially captured them. These areas are just NNE of Albu Kamal and straddle route #4. They were taken by MG Suheil al Hassan’s Tigers weeks ago. Liwa al Quds and Liwa al Fatemiyoun then promptly lost it to the jihadis – twice reportedly. Tiger Forces are needed in Idlib and Hama and cannot be constantly returning to mop up these remnants.

  3. Nuff Sed says:

    I would be interested to know, if the colonel or anyone else has any expertise on the matter, whether Iran will be supplying Hezbollah and/or Syria with significant numbers of its Talaash air defense systems.
    The Talaash is an intermediate range system which Iran developed as part of the longer range Bavar-373, which will be deployed within three months in Iran.
    And if so, the question would be whether this would be a game changer, i.e. Whether it would have sufficient range and accuracy to deter Israel from routinely violating Syrian and Lebanese airspace?

  4. The Porkchop Express says:

    Isn’t this more like the Iran-Damascus route has been RE-opened? If it were ever really closed to begin with?

  5. turcopolier says:

    The Pork Chop Express
    Since it ran for years through hundreds of kilometers of IS controlled territory in both Iraq and Syria it was obviouls closed to traffic between Iran and syria. pl

  6. According to the Web site, the Talash has the following specs:
    Description: The Talash, ‘Struggle’ in English, medium-range air defense system has been developed by the Islamic Republic of Iran to shoot down airborne targets flying at high altitudes under its domestic weapons program started in 1992 as a response to the United States arms embargo. This air defense is equipped with the precision-guided, vertically launched Sayyad-2 medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM). The combination Talash missile system and Sayyad 2 missile is intended to counter helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and high-speed and highly maneuverable fixed-wing aircraft. The missile system itself may be a key element to prevent a potential US and/or allied air strike. The existence of Talash and Sayyad 2 was confirmed by the Islamic Republic of Iran in November 2013. The first live fire tests of the Talash air defense system were conducted prior the November 2013 announcement.
    The Talash air defense system utilizing the Mach 4 Sayyad 2 missiles can intercept supersonic airborne targets flying up to 20,000 to 30,000 meters of altitude and at ranges between 50 to 80 kilometers.
    End Quote
    There is also a Talash-3, described thus:
    Description: The Talash 3, ‘Endeavor-3’ in English, is a long-range air defense system capable of shooting down an aerial target at ranges of more than 200 kilometers flying at low, medium and high altitudes. The Talash 3 was developed by the Islamic Republic of Iran under its domestic weapons program started in 1992 as a response to the United States arms embargo. The new air defense may be capable of firing Sayyad-2 and Sayyad-3? surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to defeat helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and high-speed and highly maneuverable fixed-wing aircraft. All in, it may be able to neutralize airborne threats flying at altitudes from a tens of meters to 30,000 meters at ranges of up to 200 kilometers. One key element of the Talash 3 is the Arash 2 radar which may feature new technology, most likely active electronically scanned array (AESA), that makes possible detection and tracking of small targets. The missile system itself may be a key element to prevent a potential US and/or allied air strike as well as to fill the gap by the Russian denial to sell the S-300 air defense system to the Islamic Republic. The existence of Talash 3 long-range air defense system was announced by the Islamic Republic of Iran in March 2015.
    Talash 3 Specifications
    Engaged Aerial Targets: 12
    Tracked Aerial Targets: 30
    Target’s Max Altitude: 30,000 meter (98,425 foot)
    Weapon Max Range: 200 kilometer
    End Quote
    A Youtube video shows a test of a Talash. It appears to be a mobile, two-missile launcher about the size of a tractor-trailer truck. That should mean it could be camouflaged and being mobile would be harder to track.
    Given the specs, it should easily be able to deal with Israeli fighters and bombers.
    The problem might be if Hizballah were to regularly use it to shoot at Israeli aircraft in Lebanese airspace, that might give Israel the excuse it needs to attack Lebanon again.
    But I think a few dozen of those systems would be a major enhancement to Hizballah’s ability to defend against Israeli airstrikes. If these systems start showing up in Syria or Lebanon, we’ll know it because the Israelis will raise holy hell about it with the US and the UN.

  7. Charles says:

    One belt One Road, the road runs through Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and starts in China.

  8. JamesT says:

    Nuff Sed
    In addition to the points you raise, it seems to me that a long running low intensity conflict in Syria (between SAA air defence and Israeli aircraft) would give Iran, Russia, and China a good opportunity to test their air defence systems against western military aircraft. I see it as potentially a sort of long term R&D “OODA loop”.

  9. The Porkchop Express says:

    True. But equipment was still being smuggled as a matter of routine. Is it just a question of volume? Maybe not on the pre-war level or presently, but supplies and materials were definitely still being shipped through a variety of ingenious means–IS controlled territory or not.

  10. confusedponderer says:

    thanks for the Bavar-373 reference. Perhaps it is Israeli paranoia about things like Bavar-373 (something like the Russian S-300) that drives them into frenzy over Iranian influence in Syria and, through Hezbollah, in Lebanon.
    The NEOCON folks always write about artillery missiles, that would be offensive and/or retaliatory weapons. I think they are focusing on that and don’t talk about what it is really about. Yes, Israeli doesn’t like Hezbollah’s arty missiles that are accurate and long ranged.
    Hezbollah’s capability to retaliate and withstand Israeli offences on the ground is a deterrent, and such deterrence is not wanted by Israel which relies on its supremacy in wars.
    However, something like Bavar-373 or S-300 are air defence weapons, and using them would make the airspace over Syria and Lebanon for Israeli aircraft a “danger zone”. That’s not a threat per se but a threat to Israeli invulnerability in the air. The threat to invulnerability is the threat.
    So far the Israelis can bomb about anything they want at will without great risk of ‘losing hairs’ in the process. However, a modern air defence system would be a deterrent and pose a risk to Israeli air supremacy. Israel doesn’t have EA-6B or EA-18 focused on SEAD missions.
    A modern air defence system like the S-300 or Bavar-737 would change the game, and deny Israel the use of one of their favourable ‘big sticks’ – the air force.
    Assumption: If Syria gets something like S-300 or Bavar-373 then we likely will see the Israelis to use more long range weapons, rockets and cruise missiles and perhaps their 50 new F-35I „Adir“. And/or they’ll use their IMO german/US developed … err … totally indigenously developed anti-adar drones Harpy.
    Amusingly, Israel asserts that the Harpy is an ‘indigenously designed loitering munition’.
    I strongly disagree and say it isn’t, and I do so with a reason. IMO Harpy and DAR (link below) look too similar for individually ‘indigenously designed’. Wingspan, design and role are also, and notably, quite similar. The text in the link on DAR is in german, and DAR’s german design partner was Dornier.

  11. LeaNder says:

    Pat this is heavily OT, if I may anyway?
    Sounds like good news, if the US indeed passed on a more specific warning to Russia:
    Top news item over here on German TV today, Russia caught terror suspects. Explosives found. Supposedly based on a specific warning from the US.

  12. turcopolier says:

    It is a normal feature of life in the intelligence world to trade useful information among the grown ups. Some people up near the top of the slag heap are authorized to do this as a matter of policy. I was, and an old friend who was in charge of acting as my conscience in this is probably reading this. if DJT decided to do this to advance policy and save Russian lives, more power to him! pl

  13. Nuff Sed says:

    Thanks for your reply.
    There is no question that Israel is fighting a losing battle as time will inevitably erode her technological advantage. The question is, when will that critical mass be reached?
    I think the Bavar will not be deployed outside of Iran’s borders as that risks its falling I to enemy hands, but the Talaash might be.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Pork Chop
    IMO all that stuff was coming in by sea or air. pl

  15. LeaNder says:

    Well yes, the grown ups. Not sure if I fit, ever fitted wanted to fit into that category, odd as it my sound considering my age.
    But, do I misunderstand/misread that the authorized ‘top of the slag heap’ still needs the respective presidential consent to pass the info on? …

  16. turcopolier says:

    The authority to release classified to a foreign intelligence service or government is delegated down the chain of command within policy but it is not delegated very far down that chain. pl

  17. JT McPhee says:

    Lots of intense stuff happening, as usual. I’m just a lowly deplorable and e-4 Vietvet who’s been watching the world get sicker and uglier and more stuffed with incredible hair-trigger and tipping-point vulnerabilities (like nuclear weapons and pollution) since I figured out that Catch-22 was history, not a novel.
    People here mostly seem to talk about tactics and strategies and to root for one team or another in the Great Game that now seems only about looting and “full-spectrum dominance” or subsets of that notion, particularized to strategies and tactics and operations overt and covert that are advantageous to the individual and his or her group or tribe or branch.
    My little pea brain always comes around to asking “What is this all about? What is the aim of the game, actually? Is there any chance that the axis of the game could be changed to something more of a positive-sum model, rather than the negative-sum it’s mostly become? Is there any kind of organizing principle that might help all us humans facilitate our survival (with particular personal attention to my nearest and dearest friends and family members,) or is it all just “red of tooth and claw, knife in the kidney” stuff, driven by the impulses and pleasure-seeking of what I would consider to be the worst of us?”
    People who read here follow the minutiae and daily action reports, to the extent we are allowed to see them, looking for indications that their world views and strategic predictions are correct, maybe hoping to offer comments that reach actual Players that can affect policies and outcomes. I venture to guess that in all the offices and halls and theaters of conflict, people in action are more concerned about just doing what serves their immediate interests and promotes their personal and group goals.
    Is that all there is? Ignorant armies clashing by night kind of stuff? Nothing better or more sustainable or stable? I’m getting older and will be outa here soon enough. I would like to think that the human presence will become something a whole lot more benevolent and beneficent than what’s shown in the dailies and what can be observed and inferred from conditions and behaviors and apparent interests and clues about the nature of this species I was randomly born into.
    There. That should be good for a knowing and deprecating laugh or three. Time to go abuse my soul further by reading up on the new National Security Documet, that apparently is all and only about “economic mutual death grip competition” and that vastly undefined thing that everybody presumes they hold the definition of, “national security.”

  18. turcopolier says:

    JT McPhee
    “Is there any kind of organizing principle that might help all us humans facilitate our survival?” IMO the answer is NO! Human events and history have no organizing principle and never did. To think that history has meaning or that there is a “right side” of history is just romantic nonsense inspired by creatures like JJ Rouseau. We are all responsible for what happens. History is just things that happened. pl

  19. kooshy says:

    Missiles and Drones are changing the warfare, making it more equal, like internet did for education, and information.

  20. fanto says:

    following your thought – when will it be the “accepted” method of warfare to kill the computer programmers who make the software for the drones and for the missiles, as Israel does routinely to the Iranian nuclear scientists?

  21. blowback says:

    I hope all the miscreants here who question the White Helmets realize that they’re “all part of an effort to delegitimise western efforts to stabilise Syria.”
    Furthermore, they’re part of a “Russia-backed campaign to link the volunteer rescuers with al-Qaida.”
    Well, at least according to the Guardian which did use a news agency called Ahrar al-Sham as a source for many of its reports on the war in Syria.

  22. turcopolier says:

    You are here only because I want opposing views however naive. pl

  23. blowback says:

    Major David E. Clary produced a report on the Bekaa Valley Air War which explains what Hezbollah needs to avoid:

    The overall plan for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) was designed to take advantage of two Syrian air defense mistakes. The most fundamental mistake was the lack of movement by the missile batteries. The SA-6 was designed as a mobile SAM system, yet the Syrians had their SA-6 batteries dug in for over a year in the Bekaa. This allowed the Israelis to pinpoint the precise location of each target. The second mistake was the lack of emission control by the Syrian SAM operators. The Syrians turned their radars on frequently, and often used more radars than required when practicing engagements. This
    allowed the Israelis to fingerprint or identify the exact radar frequencies used by the Syrians. The fingerprinting allowed for jamming operations and the targeting of anti-radiation missiles.

  24. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Hizballah has taken that to heart and won’t make the same mistakes.
    They might have to dig in some of the Talash in order to camouflage them, but if they do they probably won’t turn them on until needed at that location to avoid being located by Israeli SIGINT.
    Others will probably remain mobile under tree cover in the valleys. This is how Hizballah did it in the 2006 war. They drove a truck with rockets on it to a location, fired the rockets and were gone a minute later (even if the truck remained) before Israeli jets could be vectored in (to fire on a truck that is now already disarmed.) Not sure how well the Israeli radar-based counterbattery fire worked in that situation, either.

  25. GeneO says:

    PA –
    “OBOR has been an evidently working strategy for nearly 20 years.”
    I guess that puts to bed the idea that it was a strategy proposed by Xi Jinping in 2013.
    But I wonder if Xi may have gotten the seed of the idea back in 85 when he spent a few weeks in Iowa. Muscatine ain’t as big a transport hub as Atlanta or Penn Station but it still sits on important industrial/agricultural transport routes.
    But I never understood why they call it One-Belt-One-Road when there are actually six separate corridors. The new terminology seems to be BRI or B&R.

  26. Charles says:

    OBOR will be the tangible aspect. will be the money aspect.
    There are four Western institutions that the BRICS nations will have to circumvent to obtain independent economic sovereignty.
    The World Bank and the IMF have already been duplicated, SWIFTE and BIS need to be duplicated.
    Russian, China, Iran, and just today Pakistan are moving away from the $ as the instrument of settling accounts.

  27. different clue says:

    I think of it as the One-Ball-One-Chain All-For-China Prosperity Sphere.

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