An Iranian senior military official on Friday confirmed that the Islamic Republic is manufacturing weapons in the war-torn city of Aleppo, according to London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri said that missile production facilities had been transferred to the besieged Syrian city over the past few years, marking the first admission by a senior Iranian official that Tehran is producing weapons on foreign land.
The military general, speaking at a cultural ceremony in Tehran earlier this week, also revealed that missiles manufactured at the Aleppo facilities were used by Hezbollah during its 33-day war with Israel in June of 2006.
The information was not much of a revelation to rebel Syrian fighters, according to Asharq al-Awsat, who have fought against President Bashar Assad in a bloody civil war for the past five-years.
“Iranian military production on Syrian soil started in 2002 as part of a deal inked between Bashar Assad and the Iranian leadership,” Free Syrian Army Commander Col. Ahmed Rahal told Asharq al-Awsat.
“The Iranian information is very accurate and true,” he continued, adding that “Iranian military production in Syria is part of a comprehensive military and economic plan between the countries.”
Bagheri also responded to a threat issued by US President-elect Donald Trump, who said in September that any Iranian vessels that harass the US Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water” if he were elected.
Bagheri called the statement a “joke,” and commented that Trump “ate too much sugar” during campaigns, a Farsi proverb referring to nonsense, according to Asharq al-Awsat.
Nearly 500,000 people have been killed since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, according to the United Nations, with over half the population being displaced from their homes.