Iran establishes second permanent military base in Syria

Iran establishes second permanent military base in Syria
A new Iranian base has been established outside Damascus, further cementing Tehran's presence in Syria.
2 min read
28 February, 2018
Iran has played a lead role in the Syria [AFP]

Iran has further entrenched its presence in Syria with the establishment of a second permanent military base outside Damascus, according to satellite images of the site.

The suspected camp is situated in the Jebal al-Sharqi area, around eight miles north-west of Damascus, and shows signs that missiles are being stored at the base, according to Fox News.

The right-wing US broadcaster said Iran's overseas elite Quds Force are thought to operate the camp and is thought to be Tehran's second permanent military base in Syria.

Fox also said that the missiles could be used to target Israel, likely ramping up tensions between the two countries following Israeli air strikes in Syria earlier this month.

Jebel al-Sharqi is a sensitive military area of Damascus and contains two hangars thought to store short and medium-range missiles.

A similar Iranian military complex was destroyed in Israeli strikes in December. 

Last week, the New York Times revealed a number of Iranian military sites - some at Syrian regime airports - which have been targeted in Israeli air strikes.

Hardline Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman downplayed the latest revelations.

"There's nothing new under the sun, and there is no need to treat all information in the media as absolute. We are listening and following the events. We will also act in the international arena to achieve everything possible." 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned Iran of crossing "red lines", saying "Israel will not allow the Iranian regime to put a noose of terror around our neck".

His administration was left embarressed when an Israeli fighter jet was shot down after launching air strikes in Syria after an Iranian drone was said to have crossed over the border and into Israel.

It is thought to be the first time an Israeli plane has been downed in combat for decades and hints at the growing prowess of Syrian regime air defences.

Israel has launched around 100 air strikes in Syria, usually on weapons convoys close to the Lebanese border.

Iran has played a lead role in the Syria role, helping back Bashar al-Assad's forces against rebels, channeling in militia fighters and Revolutionary Guard officers.

Tehran has cemented its presence in Syria during the war and reporedly aiming to open a land corridor from Iran to its proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Israel has fought a number of conflicts with Hizballah and has warned it will not allow its ally Iran establish a permanent presence in Syria.