i24NEWS reported this week that Iranian companies, sanctioned by the US over ties to the Revolutionary Guards Corps, have recently begun unloading shipments at Syria’s Latakia port raising suspicions that the dormant maritime trade route is being revived and may be exploited for weapons smuggling.
The Mediterranean sea port of Latakia on Syria’s western coast has long been known as a transit point for illegal weapons and technologies arriving from Iran and North Korea.
Pictures given to i24NEWS recently show tractors produced by the Iranian Tractor Manufacturing Company (ITM) – a company with ties to the IRGC – being unloaded at Latakia port.
i24NEWS report that in light of increased supervision of the sea routes leading to the country Iran has more recently transported its military cargo to Syria via a civilian air route that passes over Iraq.
Intelligence sources say that a recent strike on a factory on the outskirts of Latakia Port belonging to a Syrian government company known as OTI revealed stored machinery and materials hidden in maritime shipments smuggled from suppliers in Italy, China and other countries in the Far East.
An intelligence analyst said that the equipment in the factory was designated for the construction of production facilities for Iranian precision missile factories for its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah.
In addition, new satellite images released by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat says a military installation near Safita, in northwestern Syria, is likely to be a factory for Iranian guided surface-to-surface missiles.
ImageSat said: “The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region, increase the probability that this is a missile manufacturing site”.