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 Iranian gambit is apparently based on the assessment that Israel — which has vowed to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military presence across its northern border — is unlikely to risk attacking facilities that are located near Russian forces and angering Moscow. This new building work, 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. READ MORE