Base includes two storage facilities for short and medium-range missiles; Base similar in design to Iran’s al-Kiswah base in Syria; Lieberman: Base nothing new under the sun.
Iran has built another permanent base outside of Damascus, satellite imagery released of the base by Fox News and Israeli media on Wednesday.
The base is operated by the Quds Force, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard special forces and includes two storage facilities for missiles. The warehouses are between 18 by 30 meters and can be used for storing short to medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel.
Satellite imagery of the base just eight miles outside of Damascus show the base under construction, the design of the base similar to Iran’s other permanent base, al-Kiswah, located around ten miles from Damascus and about 30 miles from Israel’s border. Satellite footage of al-Kiswah from the BBC and Israel in November of last year showed the base’s ongoing construction.
Iran has been actively building its military presence in Syria since 2011 in order to assist President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. Iran currently operates 10 military bases in Syria. Along with its proxies in Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, Iran continues to build its military presence and influence in the region.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied his country has any bases in Syria last week after multiple media reports refuted Iran’s claims it has no military bases in Syria. He claimed while speaking at the “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields” event in Moscow last Monday that “we [Iran] do not have them [in Syria].” He did confirm that there are “Iranian military advisors” in Syria.
Israel’s Defense Minister responded to the reports of the new base this morning, stating with Iran there is “nothing new under the sun, and there is no need to treat all information in the media as absolute.” He warned that Israel is ”listening and following the events. We will also act in the international realm to achieve everything possible.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Iran’s military presence and efforts in Syria directly during the recent Munich Security Conference, directly referring to Zarif as “smooth-talking mouthpiece of Iran’s regime.” During his speech he brought a piece of the Iranian drone Israel downed two weeks ago. On Iran’s growing presence in Syria, he stated “Nowhere are Iran’s belligerent ambitions clearer than in Syria. There Iran hopes to complete a continuous empire, linking Tehran to Tartus, the Caspian to the Mediterranean.”
He reiterated and warned “I made clear in word and deed that Israel has red lines it will enforce. Israel will continue to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria. Israel will continue to act to prevent Iran from establishing another terror base from which to threaten Israel. Iran continues to try to cross those red lines.”
Photo: Satellite imagery of the base outside of Damascus, (ImageSat International), 2018.