Speaking to reporters while flying home after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that he had told Putin that Iran wants to build a naval base in Syria. According to the prime minister, the Russian leader understood the message that Israel wants to send.
DEBKAfile's military sources: Until the prime minister's statement, the information on Iran's intention to set up the base had been top secret. Our sources report that the Iranians are engaged in discussions with the Syrians on establishing such a facility at the northwestern port of Banias, located about 55 kilometers from Lattakia. The Iranians are seeking such a base for their missile boats and submarines in the Mediterranean. The port is also used as an oil terminal.