On September 12, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed a map of military facilities across Syria he alleged were used to manufacture precision-guided missiles for Iran and its allies in the Middle East.
Gantz presented the map while giving a speech at a conference in New York city that was organized by The Jerusalem Post on the occasion of its 90th anniversary.
“Iran is building terror industries in Syria for its needs. Recently it started building advanced industries in Yemen and Lebanon as well. This trend must be stopped,” the minister said.
Gantz pointed at a large facility of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which he referred to by its French name Centre D’Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), near the town of Masyaf in Hama and claimed that Iran is manufacturing precision-guided missiles there.
“The sites that I reveal to you on the map, and in particular the underground site in Masyaf where precision missiles are manufactured, constitute a significant potential threat to the region and to Israel,” Gantz said.
Gantz claimed that Iran transformed Syrian military sites into precision-guided missile manufacturing facilities to supply Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian factions in the region. He added that the initiative began under Qassem Soleimani, the former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force who was killed in a US drone strike near the airport of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in 2020.
The CERS Masyaf facility was the target of a large-scale Israeli aerial attack on August 25. The attack destroyed much of the facility. Secondary explosions and fires wounded 14 civilians in nearby towns and villages.
The attack on the facility marked an uptake in Israeli attacks on Syria. The most recent attacks disrupted operations at two major airports in Damascus and Aleppo. Israel claimed earlier this year that Iran was smuggling advanced weapons through Syrian airports.
Gantz claims are likely meant to justify more attacks on Syria. Israel appears to be determined to neutralize the country’s military capabilities under the pretext of containing the influence of Iran and its allies.