'Iran to fund Syrian military base'

'Telegraph' report: Intelligence sources say move aims to ease passage of weapons between 2 countries; building to be completed by end of 2012.

Iranian Flag (R)_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Iranian Flag (R)_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Iran is to subsidize a new multi-million dollar military base on the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Western intelligence reports indicate that the move will make it easier to ship weapons and other military hardware between the two countries, the Telegraph said.
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The agreement was reached in June and building is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
According to the Telegraph report, the military base, to be situated in the coastal city of Latakia, will allow Iran to establish a permanent base for sending arms directly to Syria.
In February, Tehran and Damascus conducted a joint naval exercise out of Latakia, a move Defense Minister Ehud Barak dismissed as an Iranian show of power, and not "something that any one of us should be worried about."
Despite the defense minister's dismissal, the Syrian-Iranian military relationship has caused concern for Jerusalem, which believes that Tehran, with the help of Syria, helps to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has not commented on the current Latakia deal.