Satellite imagery of Israeli strike in Latakia released

On July 12, US officials confirmed that Israel carried out a strike against Yakhont missiles near Latakia, Syria on July 5. Despite media reports to the contrary, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had denied that Israel was responsible for the incident. [See Threat Matrix report, Did Israel strike in Syria again?.]

In recent days, Israeli media outlets, including Channel 2 and Israel Defense, have released satellite imagery from Digital Globe showing the destruction.

In one of the images, a warehouse appears to have been destroyed along with its contents. It is not clear if the Yakhont missiles were stored in this location. But if they were, it seems highly likely that they were successfully eliminated.

Israel Strike on Latakia.jpg

Another image shows a series of storage warehouses. According to Israel Defense, “impact can be identified with certainty at five warehouses.” A third image shows “about six cargo transporters” not far from the sites of the strikes.

There is strong reason to believe that the Yakhont missiles targeted by Israel were those described by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in mid-May. The Journal even noted that Israel would possibly look to target the shipment “in the near future” out of fears that the weapons could be transferred “within days” to Hezbollah.

It is still unclear how Israel carried out the most recent strike. In previous strikes, Israeli aircraft never actually entered Syrian air space, according to reports, but rather used a lofting maneuver while over Lebanon. According to the Wall Street Journal, US officials declined to provide details on the recent strike.

Speculation has since swirled. For example, the notoriously unreliable Uzi Mahnaimi claimed in the Sunday Times that Israeli Dolphin-class submarines fired cruise missiles at the arms depot. Today, the pro-Kremlin RT alleged that Israeli aircraft used a military base in Turkey to carry out the strikes. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu denounced the RT report. “Turkey will neither be a part nor a partner of such attacks. Those who made these claims want to damage Turkey’s power and reputation,” Davutoglu said.

Past Israel strikes in Syria since March 2011

Since the start of the uprising against Bashar al Assad in Syria, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has carried out at least three other strikes in Syria.

In late January, the IAF reportedly struck targets near the Scientific Studies and Research Center (Centre D’Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques) in Jamraya. According to reports, the IAF targeted a weapons convoy, which included Russian-made SA-17 antiaircraft missiles, near the facility.

While some reports of the January strike suggested that the SSRC facility itself was targeted and “flattened,” satellite imagery revealed that the facility, known for its ties to Syria’s chemical weapons program, was relatively unscathed. The images did show a burnt road near the facility, possibly indicating the location of the Syrian weapons convoy when it was hit, however.

In early May, the IAF carried out two separate strikes in Syria. The first strike on May 3 reportedly targeted Fateh-110 surface-to-surface missiles from Iran, which were located at Damascus International Airport. The second strike on May 5 reportedly retargeted the SSRC facility that was struck in January.

Although Israeli officials have not taken official responsibility for any of the alleged strikes, they have repeatedly warned that they are prepared to act in Syria to prevent Hezbollah and other terror groups from obtaining advanced weaponry.

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  • BigdaddyUSA says:

    How are the walls still standing? Looks fishy to me.

  • mike merlo says:

    Any targeted site ‘storing’ Missiles and or other Ordinance would have most likely experienced serious and or ‘visible’ damage to its exterior walls. Given the aftermath ‘conditions’ in ‘the images’ ‘it’ strongly ‘suggests’ a ‘ground presence’ on the part of the Israeli’s or whoever executed this ‘strike.’

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    In the image on the left, the smaller rectangular object (structure) that runs mostly parallel to the larger rectangular structure, with what appears to be a white roof, looks to me to be a pad. In the image on the right, however, while the larger structure appears damaged the pad appears now to have a building. What kind of missile does this? Perhaps its an optical illusion. Or, is this how the Israelis build those buildings in the West Bank so quickly?

  • ISAAC says:

    Only the Israelis have the guts and the wherewithal to effect such a smashing hit…The Syrians simply dont have the stomach to fight Israel.

  • Sixtus says:

    It looks like Israel is very aggressive on Syria so that they the Israelis will always have an advantage. The question is how long will Russia will tolerate such actions. When push comes to shove and mushroom clouds will be lurking around the corner! Incredible!

  • Bla says:

    Building used to store missiles?
    If so, why the walls still are there?
    Seems a fake news!

  • blert says:

    INRE the standing walls…
    The structure looks like that of a modern ’tilt-up’ warehouse construction — very common in California and other dry climates.
    The foundation — not so deep — is capped by a huge flat slab — which is left ragged — with reinforcing steel extending out horizontally. Styrofoam is used to control the mud during the pour.
    Upon this slab, form work is set — 10″ thick — with reinforcing bar — to be filled in with concrete — these huge elements are known as ‘panels.’
    After a cure — typically one month — the panels are ’tilted up’ with a massive crane and dropped onto the perimeter foundation. They are held in the vertical for a while with monster adjustable rods running at angles down to the interior slab.
    Once in position, additional concrete is poured all around the perimeter to tie the panels/ walls to the foundation — and to the slab.
    After this pour cures the supports are removed and a light metal roof is placed on a steel frame — typically with 10 meter spans between verticals.
    The photo above is consistent with having the steel frame and roof melted from such a warehouse. Rocket propellants are more than enough energy to melt steel. That’s why NASA uses massive amounts of water with each launch wherever the flames are going to touch.
    It’s not uncommon for missile warheads to travel separately for safety reasons — and to stop diversions. In which case, the missiles would burn up without triggering any explosions.
    For many missiles, warheads are only attached at the last moment / at the point of use — the logic being identical to why artillery ammo is fused only at the last moment.
    The building’s location — away from general activity — is consistent with ‘touchy’ merchandise.

  • My2Cents says:

    1. The building walls are quite thick as shown in the second photo. I suspect this is a warehouse for explosives, not a storage bunker, in which case the roof would have been light in order to be blown off and vent any blast upward.
    2. The Yakhont is ramjet powered, most of the fuel available would be kerosine like, so you have a fire instead of a detonation. There are still the solid fuel boosters, but that is relatively quantity overall. though that may explain why the wall at the left of the 2nd photo is demolished

  • Allan Weiss says:

    INRE comments of “new small building” or “pictures seem fake” – look around. The flora around the place shows different seasons altogether (pic on the right is summer, where everything is dried out and trees look slimmer). There’s at least a few months gap between the pictures, which makes sense: the first is intel picture that could go back months before the attack. The one after the attack is also not immediate – there are cars parked outside (probably with guys thinking “where the hell is everything?”). This means that all remains of whatever was in there may have been cleaned up by this time. So there’s no miracle buildup or any need to try and explain every little detail. Look around.
    And walls don’t have to collapse, it can be shrapnel bombing, or conflagration bomb. They do wonders in destroying equipment, but keep the walls in place.
    Don’t comment on aerials if you look but can’t see 🙂


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