Israeli and US officials told the Wall Street Journal Thursday that Iran had given Syria a powerful radar system that could make it more difficult for Israel to carry out air strikes in its territory.
The system will strengthen Syria's defenses by warning against approaching Israeli jets.
Officials say it can also help Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Syria chooses to provide the organization with warnings provided by the system, its fighters will be able to better aim its ground-to-air missiles.
Last month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed reports that Hezbollah is operating Scud missile bases in Lebanon, following reports that it had obtained more accurate missiles of the M-600 type.
Officials told the Wall Street Journal that the radar system had been transferred to Syria in mid 2009, and that it was part of the growing cooperation between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Damascus and Tehran both deny the report.
Sanctions imposed on Iran three years ago prohibit it from supplying or selling weapons or any related equipment to other countries.
The Journal cited analysts as saying that Israel had chosen to remain silent on the radar system in order to keep from increasing tension on the northern border. Israeli officials also believe Iran is trying to divert attention from its nuclear program, the report says.
The IDF Spokesperson's Office confirmed Iran was "developing Syrian intelligence" and its air detection capabilities. "Assistance with radar is just one instance of cooperation between the two states," the army said.
Major Ron, an F-16 pilot from the Air Force, said Israel would not be flying as freely in the next war as it did during the Second Lebanon War.
But a spokesman for the Syrian Embassy in Washington called the report "a classic public relations trick by Israel, whose aim is to divert global attention from its crimes in Gaza and the other occupied territories".