Iran has a network of 10-13 military bases in Syria according to new research published by BICOM today.
The Times has previewed BICOM’s research paper, which includes a map of Iranian bases, details of each base and an analysis of the strength of the main Shia militias operating in Syria. The Times reports that the bases have tens of thousands of troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), as well as missiles and transfer facilities to support Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia.
According to Israeli media reports, Israeli military intelligence has submitted a review to the Government saying that “two powerful strategic trends are fated to collide: the Iranian insistence on establishing a military presence in Syria, and the Israeli insistence on preventing it”. According to reports in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, the US and Israel could soon attack targets in Syria. The report suggests that when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Donald Trump last week, they discussed a comprehensive military plan against Iranian activity in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
An IRGC controlled base near the village of Tiyas, was targeted last month by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as it was believed to house the control centre for an Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace last month.
The IRGC’s central command is based in a compound at Damascus International Airport, apparently known as the “Glass Building”. The southern base near Izra houses surface-to-air missiles and is used by the IRGC for operations in southwest Syria, near the border with Israel and Jordan.
Iran supports a number Shia militias in Syria with fighters from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan. This amounts to more than 50,000 foreign personnel fighting alongside the Syrian Army controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, an estimated 90,000-100,000 Syrian soldiers fight in the National Defence Forces (NDF), a paramilitary force trained by Iran, which far outnumbers the front line fighting strength of the Syrian Army.
According to Israeli intelligence assessments, the IRGC wants to build an air base, a navy port on Syria’s Mediterranean shore and additional sites to manufacture missiles for the Syrian Army and Hezbollah.