Western intelligence agencies believe that Iran will provide funding for "a multi-million-dollar military base" in Syria, according to a report published Saturday in a British newspaper.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the deal would assist with the development of an Iranian military compound at Syria's Latakia airport to be completed by the end of next year. The agreement will open a supply a route that will allow Iran to transfer military hardware to Syria.
Furthermore, the report says, teams of Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers are to be stationed at Latakia on a permanent basis, where they will coordinate arms shipments with Syria's secret intelligence service.
According to the report, Western security officials say the deal was agreed upon following Syria's Deputy Vice President of Security Affairs Muhammad Nasif Kheirbek visit to Tehran in June. Kheirbek is known to be one of the most powerful figures within Syria's security establishment.
Iran and Syria have enjoyed a close alliance based on mutual disdain for the West over the past several decades. In return for Iran's military support, Syria has bolstered Tehran's attempts to develop the Islamic Hezbollah militia into a major political player in Lebanon. Recent months have seen Iran deeply alarmed by the ongoing rebellion against Assad's regime. According to Western diplomats, Iran has been sending riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring techniques, and oil to Damascus to assist Assad in quashing the rebellions.
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