LATAKIA, Syria – Iran has agreed to fund a new military base in Syria intended to facilitate arms shipments between the two nations, The (London) Daily Telegraph reported late Friday, citing information from intelligence reports.
Under the $23 million deal, which was struck in June, a compound at Latakia Airport -- 142 miles (230km) north of the capital Damascus -- would be completed by the end of the next year, the report said.
When fully operational, the complex would open a supply route to allow Iran to move weapons and military hardware to Syria, according to security officials.
A similar base has already been established in Damascus but Latakia was believed to be a preferred option because it would attract less international scrutiny, the British newspaper reported.
Iran and Syria -- bound by their mutual hostility towards the West -- have enjoyed close ties for years.
In recent months, Tehran reportedly sent Damascus riot control equipment in an effort to help embattled President Bashar al Assad quell protesters who are opposed to his regime.