A Syrian opposition website called Zamanalwsl.net is reporting that Iran is building long-range ballistic missiles at a weapons factory operating under the auspices of the Assad regime’s Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center.
The project described in these reports appears to be an effort by Iran to violate U.N. resolutions and the JCPOA, i.e. the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
The Washington Free Beacon notes that the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center has been identified by the U.S. government as “the key government agency behind the country’s contested non-conventional weapons work, including chemical weapons.” President Bashar Assad himself is said to have visited the facility in question recently to meet with weapons experts from both Iran and Syria.
“The facility is producing long-range missiles as well as M600 ballistic missiles, which are a Syrian version of the Iranian Fateh 110 missile. This facility has a branch in western Hama province for producing chemicals, and that that there is a Russian military base in the region, where North Korean officers once served,” the opposition report claims.
The factory is said to be staffed with agents from Russia and North Korea as well as Iran, which would make it politically difficult to target with a U.S. or Israeli airstrike.
The Algemeiner warns that Iran is looking for ways to threaten Israel from Syria, either directly with its infamous Quds Force dirty-tricks squad or through proxies like Hezbollah and Shiite militia units. Long-range missiles produced in Syria could be very quickly distributed to such forces.
Similar reports emerged last week concerning at least two Hezbollah missile factories under construction in Lebanon. One of these facilities, located in the northern town of Hermel, is allegedly intended to produce Iranian-designed Fateh 110 medium-range missiles, capable of hitting targets across most of Israel.
The Times of Israel notes that an Iranian general told a Kuwaiti newspaper in March that Iran is building hardened missile production facilities in Lebanon because Israel has been so successful at destroying weapons supply convoys from Iran to its clients, including its allies in Syria. According to the Kuwaiti paper, Iranian missiles manufactured in Lebanon have already been used by Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
The Israelis have said they are fighting to keep Iran’s proxies from building up inventories of accurate medium-range missiles, and for good reason, as Hezbollah has promised to “surprise Israel” with its military capabilities if hostilities erupt again.