Report: Iranians built new military base in Syria – Middle East

Missiles and a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit:NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)

Iran is developing a new military facility in Syria, according to a report at the BBC based on a western intelligence source.

Located in Al-Kiswah, south of Damascus, the facility is one of many alleged Iranian bases in Syria and illustrates part of the growing documentation on how Iran is establishing a permanent presence in the war-torn country.

Israel has repeatedly warned against Iran’s plans for planting more roots close to the northern border.

“We will not allow it [Syria] to be used as a forward operating base of a Shia axis,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s office said in a statement Saturday after Israel shot down a drone near the Golan.

The new facility is located near the M5 highway, leading south from Damascus toward Jordan. Around 30 km south of the center of Damascus and 50km from Quneitra, next to the Golan border with Israel, in AL-Kiswah, the facility forms part of a group of military sites that honeycomb fields northwest of Al-Kiswah.

According to the BBC report, “in recent months, additional buildings have been added to the site.” The western intelligence source told the BBC that it reveals “ambitions for such a long-term presence in Syria would not be illogical for Iran.” According to satellite photos from May and October 2017 of the site published by BBC, there are three new buildings and other renovated buildings.

The new report builds on other reports of Iranian facilities in Syria. For more than six years, Syria has been in the midst of a vicious civil war between the Iranian-backed regime of Bashar Assad and various rebel groups. In the last two years, the regime has gained the upper hand with Russian support and pushed the rebels back to several cantons that are now regulated by ceasefire and de-escalation agreements. The Islamic State has also been defeated in eastern Syria and the regime is on the verge of taking the key border crossing with Iraq at Albukamal.

In August, the website ImageSat International revealed photos of alleged Iranian-built missile factories in the Wadi Jahannam valley.

The factories are located east of Banias in northwest Syria.

“According to high-resolution images of the Eros-B satellite, the findings show that Syria is building missile factories with great similarity to missile factories in Iran,”…

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