A satellite image claiming to show a n Iranian military base outside Damascus.
(photo credit: IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL (ISI))
Satellite images of an area near Damascus allegedly show a new permanent military base that might house missiles capable of striking Israel, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
The images of the base some 12 km. northwest of the Syrian capital, taken by ImageSat International, reportedly show two recently constructed hangars that are similar to other Iranian bases in Syria.
According to Fox, Iran’s Quds Force, a branch of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, operates the new base in order to store short- and medium-range missiles.
In November, the BBC reported that Iran had established another military base at a Syrian Army site south of Damascus. Media reports claimed that the base was destroyed by an Israeli air-to-surface missile in December
The BBC report, based on Western intelligence sources, said the Iranian base was some 50 km. north of the Golan Heights and contained several buildings that likely could have housed soldiers and military vehicles.
Israeli officials have repeatedly said the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry from Tehran to Hezbollah in Lebanon via Syria are redlines for the Jewish state.
Last week, a New York Times report on the scope and depth of Iranian entrenchment in Syria showed a high concentration of outposts along the border with Israel, including administrative and logistical bases, control centers for drones, training centers and more.
Former defense minister MK Amir Peretz said on Twitter Wednesday that the report of a new base demands determined diplomatic action.
“The message must be made clear that Iranian military entrenchment constitutes a redline that must not be crossed. If need be, all options will be examined to prevent the entrenchment on the northern border,” he wrote.
In early February, Syrian antiaircraft missiles downed an Israeli F-16I fighter jet
, after it carried out retaliatory air strikes, following the infiltration of an advanced Iranian drone into Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then warned at the Munich Security Conference that Israel could strike the Islamic Republic directly and cautioned Tehran not to “test Israel’s resolve.”
“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck. We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act, if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
On Tuesday, Gen. Joseph L.
Votel, head of US Central Command, said Iran was “increasing the number and quality” of its ballistic missiles deployed to Syria and had “enhanced” funding to its proxy troops in the Middle East.
Despite the increased threat posed by Iran, “countering Iran is not one of the coalition’s missions in Syria,” Votel said.