Lebanon: Hezbollah Has Built Airstrip in Bekaa Valley for Iranian Drones?
The airstrip around 10 miles west of the Syrian border was discovered through some satellite images. According to some defence experts, the single unpaved strip is unlikely to be used for smuggling weapons because it is too short to take transport planes. It may instead be used for Iranian-made unmanned aircraft, including the Ababil-3, which has been employed over Syria and possibly the newer and larger Shahed-129.
Hezbollah has been reportedly used drones in its military operations carried out to back Syrian regime of Bachar Al Assad against rebel forces in Syria, particularly over the mountainous Qalamoun region on Lebanon’s eastern border.
The Iranian regime has begun developing drones in the early 1980s during its war against Iraq. Over the years, and in spite of crippling international sanctions, Iran has developed an ecosystem of military unmanned air vehicles.
This country, which is also working a nuclear program, uses drones to fly over U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and probably in some monitoring missions. Iran supplies drones to Hezbollah which has been known to fly its Iranian UAVs into Israeli airspace. Iran also says it produces non-weaponized surveillance drones.
The country’s drone program is expected to expand further when all the sanctions imposed by the international community are lifted after the signing of a final nuclear deal.