Following Zarif’s blatant lie that Iran has no bases in Syria, numerous media reports refute Iran’s claims; At least 10 Iranian bases reported in Syria; Over 20,000 militants trained by Iranian military personnel in Syria.
Iran rejected claims that it has military bases in Syria, its foreign minister lying to the press in Moscow on Monday.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied his country has any bases in Syria. Speaking at the “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields” event in Moscow Monday, Zarif lied, stating when asked of Iranian military bases in Syria “No we do not have them [in Syria].” He did confirm that there are “Iranian military advisors” in Syria.
Zarif instead took to accusing Israel of violating Syria’s sovereignty last weekend. The IDF shot down an Iranian drone which entered Israel from Syria, destroying the drone and carrying out multiple airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian targets. He claimed “What happened in Syria on Saturday? Israel violated Syria’s airspace several times. It should be noted that Israel is permanently bombing Syria. And Syrian forces had managed to down an Israeli aircraft for the first time,” Zarif confirming numerous lies by the Assad regime that it had downed Israeli jets in the past.
Iran has been actively building its military presence in Syria since 2011 in order to assist President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. According to reports, 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.
Even the New York Times on Monday denied Iran’s claims, releasing a detailed report on three Iranian military bases in Syria, the Tuyas airbase, Al Shayrat airfield and al-Kiswah base. It claims that there “Iranian military personnel in Syria today range from the high hundreds to the low thousands”.
Over 20,000 militants have reportedly been trained through Iranian military personal to date, 6,000 of them members of Hezbollah from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
One of the bases, al-Kiswah, which is located close to ten miles from Damascus and about 30 miles from Israel’s border, is one of Iran’s permanent bases in Syria. Satellite footage of the base from the BBC and Israel in November of last year showed the bases’ ongoing construction.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke before the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, bringing with him a piece of the Iranian drone Israel downed. He centered his speech on Iran’s efforts, mainly in Syria and through its proxies, to destroy the State of Israel.
On Iran’s growing presence in Syria, Netanyahu 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.”
He again warned the Islamic Republic “Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck. We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves.”
Photo: Satellite footage of Iranian base in Syria, 2017