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Israeli TV: Iran Building a Long-Range Rocket Factory in Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Satellite images of the factory under construction in Syria (right), and the Iranian factory built in Iran (left) (Reuters)

Tel Aviv– New satellite images revealed that Iran is building a facility in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range rockets, according to an Israeli television report on Tuesday.

News report showed images it said were taken by an Israeli satellite showing a site in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas, saying some of the construction indicated explosives would be stored there, according to Reuters.

It compared images of buildings it said were of a rocket factory near Tehran to structures at the Syrian site, and said there was a strong resemblance between them.

The factory is located in Wadi Jahannam, near the northern Syrian coastal city of Baniyas and appears to have underground weapons storage. Based on the images, construction on the site began last year and will most likely continue until the end of 2017.

Intelligence experts analyzed the images from Israel’s EROS-B satellite and argued that the resemblance to a similar Iranian factory indicates Iran’s involvement in this factory’s construction. They also stated that the images show dirt embankments being utilized in order to protect the buildings currently under construction.

Israeli reports stated that the new satellite images confirm an assessment by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen before the Israeli Cabinet earlier this week. Cohen stated that the Iranian regime is expanding its control across the Middle East through proxy forces in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

Cohen warned that Iran is moving to fill the void left by ISIS, to become a dominant power in the Middle East. “In places where Iran’s presence is limited, Iran is working to fill the void,” he said.

Cohen also added that Iran has not abandoned its aspirations to become a nuclear power, and that the nuclear agreement signed between the world powers and Iran only strengthens Iranian economy.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran was strengthening its foothold in its ally Syria and said Israel was watching developments and would act against any threat.

He added that Israel is not obligated to abide to any international agreement that Iran signed on, referring to the nuclear agreement between Iran and six states, US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

“Our policy is clear: We vehemently oppose the military buildup by Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria and we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security,” he said in a speech.

Meanwhile, White House National Security invited an Israeli security delegation to Washington this week for talks with senior officials in the White House and in the US defense establishment.

The delegation will be headed by Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence Chief Major-General Hertzi Halevy, and Head of the Political-Military Bureau at Israel’s Ministry of Defense Zohar Palti.

According to a senior White House official, the Israeli delegation would meet with National Security Advisor General Herbert McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and other officials.

The talks will focus on Israel’s security needs in Syria and Lebanon and finding a method to keep Iran and its militias away from Syria.

The delegation will also attempt to change the US-Russian agreement concerning Syria.