Iran is building a permanent military base in Syria just south of Damascus, the BBC reported Friday, citing a Western intelligence official. The British broadcaster commissioned a series of satellite pictures that indicate widespread construction at the site.
Israel has long warned that Iran is trying to establish a presence in Syria as part of its efforts to control a land corridor from Iran through to the Mediterranean Sea as they attempt to expand their influence across the Middle East.
According to the report, the base is situated at a site used by the Syrian army near El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus.
The photos, taken over several months, show additional buildings being constructed, however, the report said that “it is impossible to independently verify the purpose of the site and the presence of the Iranian military.”
“The images of the base do not reveal any signs of large or unconventional weaponry which means if it was a base it would most likely be to house soldiers and vehicles,” the BBC said, quoting a source who said it was possible that senior Iranian military officials may have visited the compound in recent weeks.
Also, the report said that and independent analysis of the images commissioned by the BBC said the facility is military in nature. The analysis also suggested there are a series of garages that can hold six to eight vehicles each.
Israel has repeatedly warned of the Iranian presence in Syria and vowed to stop it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that the threat posed by Iran to its Middle Eastern neighbors was driving them into hitherto unthinkable alliances with the Jewish state.
“Iran is devouring one nation after the other,” Netanyahu said recently at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think tank in London.
Read More: Times of Israel