Iranian warships have crossed the Suez Canal and docked in Syria's port city of Tartous, Iranian state media has reported.
The Mehr news agency said on Sunday that Tehran's show of support has caused "extreme worry for zionist forces".
Youcef Bouandel, professor of international affairs at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that Iran's deployment has to be viewed as part of a "broader picture" - that it to say that the Iranian government feels that "Syria is the first step towards putting Iran in the corner".
"Iran has been having a few standoffs with the West in general over its nuclear programme and over its oil emabrgo," said Bouandel, who said that the docking of the ships on the Syrian coast had two largely symbolic meanings.
"Iran has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and has been a strong ally of Syria over the last year in particular... the two ships... crossed the Suez Canal without being stopped or searched [which] suggests that they do not carry any weapons," he said.
Tensions over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme have led to ever-tightening sanctions on the country's oil exports, prompting Iran to threaten to close the strait, the world's most important chokepoint for oil transport.