UAE Daily Reports On Iran's Military Headquarters In Damascus, Including A Control Room Monitoring Iran's Drones, Among Them Drones Watching U.S. Base

June 10, 2020

A report in the English-language UAE daily The National provides information about the Glass House, a building near the Damascus international airport that serves as the command and control headquarters of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria. This is the hub from which the IRGC's Quds Force has orchestrated Iran's military efforts in the country.

According to the report, the building houses the commands of the various pro-Iranian militias in Syria (Iranian, Afghan, Iraqi, Lebanese, Palestinian and Pakistani), and is the venue for meetings between their top brass. It also contains a well-equipped hospital which treats militiamen wounded in action, extensive intelligence departments, and a control room monitoring live feed from Iran's fleet of drones in Syria, including drones deployed above a U.S. airbase in the northeast of the country.

The report notes that, in November 2019, an Israeli airstrike damaged the top two floors of the Glass House, but did not destroy the building completely. Israel's restraint, it speculates, may stem from understandings it has with Syria and Hizbullah, as part of which it refrains from causing extensive casualties in Syria. The report adds, however, that Iran nevertheless seems to be downsizing its activity in the Glass House, in favor of alternative centers in the Palmyra and Aleppo areas.

The following are excerpts from the report:[1]

"Thousands of cars pass a towering glass building along Damascus' airport road every day with little idea of its crucial role in the country's brutal nine-year civil war. Just a few hundred meters from the country’s main passenger terminal – one of the few routes to the outside world for those in isolated Syria able to afford it – the building’s imposing glass facade casts a shadow across the traffic on the highway. Inside is one of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s most critical nodes in Syria - an intelligence headquarters vital to Iran’s efforts in the war-torn country. To the rank and file militiamen, commanders, and IRGC officials that frequently pass through, it’s known as Beit Al Zajaja, or The Glass House in English.

"For militia commanders stationed out in the dust lands of Deir Ezzor, or on the frontlines of Idlib, being summoned to The Glass House is the equivalent of being called to The White House. Extensive interviews reveal, for the first time, the site's role as a central node in the IRGC Quds Force's Syria campaign.

"Though it has fluctuated, Iran's proxy network inside Syria is believed to number in the tens of thousands of fighters, with dozens of groups pledging varying degrees of loyalty to Tehran. Its fighters have played an increasingly prominent role in the country, and with that, the importance of The Glass House has increased.

"On one floor is an Intensive Care Unit. Whilst public hospitals a few miles away struggle to keep the power on all day, the IRGC high command in Syria are given some of the best treatments the region can offer. Foreign militia fighters injured in combat are often bought here before being repatriated to Tehran. More recently, staff have been preoccupied with cases of Covid-19.

"Another source mentions a control room with banks of screens, all broadcasting live satellite feeds from Iranian drones in the skies above Syria. On some, the source said, aerial shots of a US base in the country's north-east flicker, others show the now-stagnant battlefronts of Idlib, where IRGC-units have waged a critical fight against Turkish-backed rebels.

"Set across the other floors are departments dedicated to everything from interpretation to report writing. Another floor hosts a department they call the "women's sections".

This is an excerpt from a MEMRI report. To view the full report, click here.


[1] The National (UAE), June 3, 2020.

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