The BBC has cited a western intelligence official as saying that Iran is building a permanent military base in Syria just 50 kilometres from the Israeli border.
The broadcaster commissioned a series of satellite images (pictured) to illustrate the claim, which shows construction work at the site, which is also just 14km south of Damascus.
Israel has long complained that Iran, its main enemy in the region, has wanted to expand its influence through permanent bases in Syria.
The BBC said that the satellite images show “a series of two dozen large low-rise buildings, likely for housing soldiers and vehicles”.
It added that there was no sign of heavy weaponry at the site.
While the war in Syria is coming to an end, world powers, including Iran, are busy calculating the aftermath of the war.
Iran has gained such power and influence in the region that Israel says other countries are now prepared to ally with Israel.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The good news is that the other guys are getting together with Israel as never before. It is something that I would have never expected in my lifetime.”
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have raised concerns repeatedly about the influence of Iran and its proxies in the area.
Saudi Arabia is already fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, and there is talk of war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, after the surprise resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad El Hariri last weekend.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE have all warned their citizens to leave Lebanon as the situation escalates.
Netanyahu said that he sees the “moderate Sunni alliance with Israel” as a “great promise of peace in the region”.
He also said that Iran does not yet dominate Syria, but that it is trying “to Lebanon-ise Syria economically and militarily.” He vowed that Israel would not allow this to happen.
Iran is a key ally of the Syrian regime, which looks as though it will emerge victorious after years of bloody war in the country. The regime has started to restore control over huge parts of the country, largely thanks to Iranian and Russia support.
Photo credit: BBC/Digital Globe/MIS