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Iran reportedly smuggled weapons into Syria under pretext of earthquake relief

Illustrative - Weapons, including anti-tank guided missiles, which Britain's Royal Navy described as Iranian and said it had seized from a smugglers vessel in international waters in the Gulf of Oman, are displayed at a pier side during inventory at a military facility in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in the gulf, Feb. 26, 2023. (Photo: Sergeant Brandon Murphy/U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS)

The Islamic Republic of Iran smuggled military equipment into Syria under the guise of transporting earthquake relief aid, according to a Reuters report. 

Reuters drew from Western, Iranian, Israeli and Syrian sources, to establish that the weapons transfer was intended to fortify the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as Tehran’s military front on Israel’s northern border. 

The Iranian military equipment was reportedly transported on hundreds of flights from Iran to Syrian airports in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia following a devastating pair of earthquakes in February which killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria. While the majority of the victims were Turkish, the earthquake was responsible for the deaths of at least 6,000 Syrians, according to United Nations estimates. 

Iranian diplomats at the UN rejected the report about Iran smuggling large quantities of weapons into Syria. However, an Israeli defense official who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Iran transferred significant amounts of weaponry into Syria. 

“Under the guise of shipments of earthquake aid to Syria, Israel has seen significant movements of military equipment from Iran, mainly transported in parts,” said the defense official. 

Israel has responded to the repositioning of weapons, which are considered a threat to the state, by stepping up its aerial attacks on Iranian military targets across Syria. The Israeli Air Force has reportedly targeted senior Iranian military officials in the country. 

“Israel’s strikes also targeted a meeting of commanders of Iranian militias and shipments of electronic chips to upgrade weapons systems,” said Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, a Syrian defector.

The Iranian regime has invested considerable resources to entrench itself militarily in Syria and establish a Shiite corridor between Iran and the Mediterranean Sea. 

Israel, for its part, is committed to prevent Iran from establishing a military base on Israel’s northern border. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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