The T-4 airbase, also known as the Tiyas Military Airbase, is located in the Syrian province of Homs, west of the ancient city of Palmyra, and is the largest airbase in the country. Being a strategically important facility, Tiyas has repeatedly been subjected to attacks.
Daesh Targeting “Russian Infrastructure”
In May 2016, private intelligence firm Stratfor presented alleged satellite images of Daesh* striking the Tiyas military base and “destroying” four Russian helicopters and 20 supply trucks.
While the jihadi group claimed to have bombed Russian equipment, the Russian Defense Ministry has dismissed these allegations as “propaganda,” saying that the “satellite images showing burned shells of helicopters and trucks at the [Tiyas] airbase reflect the damage from months of clashes in the area between Syrian government forces and militants.”
Daesh Strikes Tiyas to Capture Strategic Crossroad
Being one of the most crucial airbases in Syria, T-4 has been a priority target for Daesh: in December 2016 terrorists attacked Tiyas, advancing there from the recaptured ancient city of Palmyra, and seized a strategically important crossroad near the base – Jihar. Daesh launched an assault on the Jihar Crossroad, which resulted in fierce fighting with the Syrian Arab Army; unable to halt the offensive, the government forces had to withdraw from the area, leaving the terrorists within striking distance of the T-4 base. Days after the failure, Syrian army units managed to repel another attack on Tiyas by Daesh militants, although it continued to be targeted by regular mortar and rocket strikes.
Israeli Attack on T-4 Following F-16 Downing
In February 2018, Israel launched an attack on the airbase, having struck 12 Syrian and “Iranian military targets” at Tiyas. Prior to the airstrike, Tel Aviv reported that an Israeli helicopter had intercepted an Iranian drone after it crossed into the Israel-occupied Golan Heights and struck at what the IDF called Iranian targets in Syria, prompting retaliatory fire from Syrian air defense systems, which brought down the Israeli F-16 fighter jet.
Israel Accuses Iran of Operating T-4 in Syria
The Israeli Defense Forces have accused Iran of controlling the Tiyas airbase, from which the army said the Iranian drone was shot down over northern Israel.
“Iran and the Quds Force [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ special unit] for some time have been operating the T-4 Air Base in Syria next to Palmyra, with support from the Syrian military and with permission from the Syrian regime,” the IDF’s statement read.
For a long time Iran and the Quds Force have been operating, with the backing of Syrian forces and the approval of the Syrian regime, from the Syrian T-4 Airbase near Tadmor. pic.twitter.com/U9H33vDF4O— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) 10 февраля 2018 г.
Israel claimed that the base was used by the Quds Force to transport sophisticated weaponry to “Syria, Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in the region.”
*Daesh, also known as ISIL/ISIS/IS, a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries