As it works intensively to deepen its military presence in Syria, Iran is building military facilities very close to Russian forces there, The Times of Israel has learned.
The construction of these facilities is being carried out secretively, and in some cases it has begun under the guise of residential building for civilians, and only later revealed as facilities for accommodating Shi’ite fighters deployed by Iran, well-placed sources told The Times of Israel, insisting on anonymity.
The Shiite militias sent to the country — already numbering over 10,000, including mercenaries from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan — are not simply a fighting force, therefore.
Iran’s goal is to increase their numbers dramatically, and in parallel bring over their families, offspring, relatives and whoever else they can from the soldiers’ social circles, so that hundreds of thousands more Shiites take residence in Syria. This, even as the exodus of millions of Sunnis from their homeland — an estimated 5-6 million Syrians have fled the country — also strengthens Bashar Assad’s position.
Underpinning its expansionist activities is an improving economy — growth figures are encouraging — with quite a few foreign companies, European, Chinese and Russian, having already signed agreements with Iran worth many billions of dollars.