February 17, 2018

Israel, Iran and the war for Syria

14 February 2018, 07:02 | Kara Nash

AFP 2018 JALAA MAREYIsraeli Minister Warns Assad Against Allowing Iran to Cross'Red Lines

10 2018 show Israeli solders taking positions in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the border with Syria

"Israel stresses that it will not accept an Iranian presence in Syria, damage to its sovereignty, and development and construction of missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon by Iran", Katz said.

Iran's involvement in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad in a almost seven-year-old civil war - including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat.

"We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared.

"To those who say 'if they hit us, we will respond with force, ' it is clear that they have never experienced the Ottoman slap", he said. "Several people were wounded on both sides but as of now, there are no further casualties".

In the space of a single week last week, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel lost aircraft to hostile fire.

I think the European Union and, specifically in this case, Germany have a unique potential. "I don't think anybody wants it to escalate further".

"The Pentagon and State Department have already condemned Iran and thrown their support behind Israel".

The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, said an Israeli spokesman. Syrian anti-air systems retaliated, striking an Israeli F-16, which crashed after making it back to Israeli territory.

Israeli planes frequently attack targets in Syria.

He said the regime had conducted strikes after the downing of the F-16, which he said showed " that our modus operandi has not changed one bit".

"We heard a big explosion and then sirens".

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Flights at Tel Aviv's worldwide airport were briefly halted, but the area was quiet by mid-afternoon. "These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there - and yesterday we proved that".

He continued to put Syria on warning that Israel will immediately annihilate any threat in the skies - as it has done before. The pro-Assad military alliance said Israel had attacked a drone base in central Syriabut denied any of its drones had entered Israeli airspace. In addition to the tactical success of downing the Israeli jet, Iran and Syria will use this feat for propaganda.

Israel launched a second large-scale attack, striking 12 targets inside Syria, including four Iranian installations. The paper wrote "the Israeli military released video it said shows an Iranian drone in Israeli airspace on February 10, before it was destroyed by an Israeli attack helicopter. It's just a matter of sobriety", Cohen said, "and both sides understand there's really nothing to be gained".

The Israeli planes were met with a barrage of missiles fired by Syria, one of which hit an F-16 jet that had a crew of two. Israel, which also operates drones, has long maintained air superiority in the region.

Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren (Kulanu) told Bloomberg on Sunday following the recent flare-up along the country's northern border that America "has nearly no leverage on the ground" in Syria.

With the Syrian rebels on the run and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad gaining momentum, Iran is seeking to rewrite the "rules of the game" governing Israel's actions in Syria. Because the global circumstances will not allow neither Israel nor Iran to change radically the regional balance of power as they like it. In brief, the risk of having a classical inter-state war between Israel and Iran is now higher than ever. Even if one of the belligerents wins this war on the battlefield, neither of them can win at the negotiation table that would appear afterwards.

Considering that the Syrian regime is in tatters, Assad is probably more keen on rebuilding his decimated country than on bearing the brunt of Israeli attacks launched in response to Iranian provocations. "We will continue to destroy targets".

Combustible elements to ignite an Israeli-Iranian war are now in place in Syria.

Lebanon urged concerned countries to "rein in" Israel.

Tensions have also spiked across the frontier between Israel and Lebanon over Israeli plans for a border wall, and Lebanese plans to exploit an offshore energy block which is partly located in disputed waters.

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