Satellite images show another Iranian missile site in Syria.
(photo credit: IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL (ISI))
Satellite images taken by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) on Wednesday appear to show a new missile factory being constructed in Syria, raising additional suspicion of Iranian involvement in missile production in the country.
The images show a site surrounded by a fence, three hangers and a newly built water tower. Buses and vans were detected in the site entrance within the securely fenced compound during recent months, with workers at the site coming and going in patterns consistent with military installations, ISI said.
The factory is being built in the town of Safita east of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast, some eight kilometers from the border with Lebanon in an area controlled by the Syrian regime and in the vicinity of Russian SAM (surface-to-air missile) deployment.
According to ISI, the compound is similar to a factory used for producing surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) in Iran's Khojir.
“The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region, increase the probability that this is a missile manufacturing site,” (ISI) said, adding that “if this site is indeed related to SSM manufacturing it is possible that the two hangers include production line and the third is for manufacture or assembly.”
While the compound is already active and in development stages, it appears that the site does not manufacture missile engines or warheads, since ISI was not able to detect any protected structures or missiles launchers within the compound.
Nevertheless, the firm identified marks some 500 meters from the site, “probably created by the activity of heavy vehicles such as SSM launchers,” ISI said, adding that "in our assessment, the tire prints are not related to the activity of quarries operating in the area.”
Last month, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Iran was operating a precision missile factory built on the outskirts of Latakia near the Russian Khmeimim Air Force base with the help of the Syrian government and Hezbollah. ISI said that it could not confirm the report.
In late August, satellite images taken by ISI of an area of northwestern Syria revealed the establishment of another Iranian SSM factory, which may house weapons capable of striking Israel.
The images purportedly show evidence which suggest that Iran is continuing to build various facilities related to the development and production of SSMs in the area of Wadi Jahannam near Baniyas.
Similar to the compound shown in the images released by ISI on Wednesday, some of the structures at the site have similar visual characteristics to those built at SSM facilities in Parchin and Khojir in Iran.
Jerusalem has repeatedly warned against Tehran's entrenchment in Syria and has stressed time and again that Syrian soil cannot serve as a forward operating base for Iran, and that the war-torn country cannot be a way-station for arms smuggling to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In September during his address at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared photos of locations near Beirut International Airport where he said Hezbollah attempted to convert ground-to-ground missiles to precision missiles. The sites have since been closed.
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