Iran is building military facilities and bases very close to Russian forces in Syria to keep them from being attacked by Israel, security sources in Tel Aviv said.
Sources stressed that Israel has learned that Russians do not favor this activity, noting the increasing tension between Moscow and Tehran.
According to Israeli security sources, Iranian facilities built close to Russian positions in Syria are publicly held as Iranian sites.
This new construction, which the sources said is not being coordinated with Russia, potentially turns the nearby Russian forces into de facto human shields in any future conflict with Israel.
The facilities were built under the guise of residential building for civilians, but in fact, they were facilities for accommodating its Shiite terrorist arm deployed by Iran in Syria.
The Iranian move is one of several developments in Syria indicating that Moscow and Tehran are no longer quite as much in lockstep when it comes to Syria.
While Moscow accepts that the presence of Shiite ground forces in Syria is vital to ensure Bashar Assad’s continued control of the country, some of Iran’s broader actions and efforts to expand its footprint in the Syrian arena are causing consternation in the Kremlin.
Moscow is said to urge Assad to rebuff Iran’s efforts to establish a seaport at Tartus, in an indication of the conflict between the Russian and Iranian interests in Syria.
While working to open airports, military bases, intelligence bases and more, Iran is also continuing to seek to carve out its share in Syria’s solar and phosphates industries, among others.
These steps sometimes cause tension with Moscow; the Russians are finding themselves competing with the Iranians for various economic projects, an uncomfortable new reality in a Syria where everyone seems to want to profit from its potential restoration.