Jerusalem continues to express its concerns over the non-escalation agreement for Syria. Tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters and mercenaries are in Syria and under the agreement, they will be allowed to establish a presence near Israel’s northern border.
The recent victories over ISIS in Syria are apparently signaling the beginning of the bloody Syrian civil war’s end. After it was reported that the presidents of the US and Russia both approved the non-escalation agreement signed this week, the first draft of the “buffer zone map,” which defines which forces will be allowed to operate in Syria, has been publicized. Government officials in Jerusalem are highly concerned about the map because it allows Iran to establish a military presence near Israel’s northern border.
The BBC reported a few days ago that Iran is establishing a permanent military base in Syria, citing an intelligence source. The official said that over 20 low-rise buildings were constructed and will likely be used for housing soldiers and vehicles. However, the exact purpose of the site could not be entirely verified. The compound is reportedly located 14 km (about 8 miles) south of Damascus and only 50 km (about 31 miles) from the Israeli Golan Heights border.
Pro-Iranian fighters in Syria Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News
As reported by JOL in August, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen warned of the existence of Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. “In the places where ISIS’ presence is decreasing, Iran is operating to fill the void,” said Cohen.
Information provided by the opposition parties in Iran and various reports by Western media outlets have confirmed Cohen’s statement. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps became involved in the conflict in 2012. Over the past five years, Tehran’s involvement in the war-torn country has only increased.