B1554 (29 Jan 1960)


Mission B1554 covered major urban areas in Syria, Iraq, and southwestern Iran. It began its photographic mission east of Aleppo, then passed over Raqqa and across the steppe. It turned to the north to Qamishli, then followed the Qamishli-Mosul road. It banked sharply to the north to photograph the mountainous regions of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, then flew to Sulaimaniya and Kirkuk. It turned to the SE and crossed into western Iran, where the camera was turned off.  The camera ran continuously once the plane reached Dezful, and it overflew Ahwaz, Abadan, and Basra before crossing the central marshes of southern Iraq. Again the pilot turned off the camera until the outskirts of Baghdad, but captured a continuous transect along the Baghdad-Amman desert road. The pilot banked to the north to Deraa, Damascus, and into Lebanon, before turning 180 degrees to return to Damascus and Suweida, before turning off the camera. It was re-engaged in the steppe south of the Euphrates, and captured the Euphrates valley in western Iraq, then up into northeastern Syria. The plane flew along the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to the Euphrates, then up to Deir az-Zor and again into the Syrian desert, this time to Palmyra. From there, the pilot followed the road to Homs, then up the Orontes to Hama and then to Aleppo, where the photographic mission was complete.

Mission B1554 was acquired under near-ideal ground conditions in many parts of its flight, especially the Syrian jazira and northern Iraq/Kurdistan.  It captures several landscapes that are now degraded (the eastern badia of Jordan) or even destroyed (the marshes of southern Iraq).