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Old 11-27-2017, 11:45 PM
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Default Netanyahu said to warn Assad: We値l strike if you let Iran set up bases in Syria

The Times of Israel

Netanyahu said to warn Assad: We値l strike if you let Iran set up bases in Syria
In latest sign of PM's mounting concern, Israeli TV says he has conveyed stark message to Syrian president via third party

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that Israel will intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war if Assad gives formal permission to Iran to establish a military presence in Syria, Israeli TV reported on Sunday night.

The warning specified that Israel will depart from the policy of non-intervention it has maintained throughout the six years of the civil war to date, Yaari said, if Assad 妬nvites Iranian forces to establish themselves in Syria via an agreement of any kind. Iran has provided significant logistical, technical, training and financial support for Assad痴 regime and forces, as well as deploying military advisers and some combat troops in Syria. It also arms, trains and funds Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group that has sent thousands of gunmen to fight alongside Assad痴 troops.

Thus far, Israel has provided medical and humanitarian aid to victims of the war across its border, has hit back when gunfire has crossed the border, and has used air strikes to target weapons stores and convoys intended for the Hezbollah terrorist organization. But, to date, 鍍here was no direct targeting of the Syrian Army or of Assad, Yaari noted.

From the official Facebook page of the Syrian presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, meeting with Iranian minister of economy and financial affairs, Ali Tayebnia, left, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, March 16, 2015. (AP)
The report noted tellingly that this non-intervention contrasted with previous Israeli policy. In 2006, for instance, Israeli jets broke the sound barrier flying over Assad痴 presidential palace in Latakia, in what was seen as a warning to him against supporting Palestinian terrorist groups.

The reference to any formal Syrian 妬nvitation or 殿greement with Iran, the TV report elaborated, stems from the fact that Iran and Russia have been discussing future arrangements for Syria, under which all foreign forces would have to leave the country, except those which are present by agreement with, or invitation from, Assad. Russia痴 forces are engaged in Syria on the basis of such an invitation, and Netanyahu痴 aim in issuing the warning 妬s to deter Assad from issuing a similar invitation to Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hand with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, November 20, 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Kremlin via AP)
The Iranians, the TV report noted, want to build 殿 naval base, possibly for submarines, an air base and arms factories for precision weapons.

Earlier this month, the BBC, citing a Western security official, reported that Iran was setting up a permanent base on a site used by the Syrian army near el-Kiswah, 14 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus, and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Israeli border.

Satellite image of alleged Iranian base in Syria from October 2017 (Airbus, Digital Globe and McKenzie Intelligence Services/BBC)
The TV report came days after Netanyahu was quoted telling French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call that Israel sees Iranian activity in Syria as 殿 target for its forces, and may carry out strikes against Iranian objectives if its security needs require it.

According to a transcript of their November 19 phone call reported by Israel痴 Channel 10 TV, Netanyahu told the French leader that 吐rom now on, Israel sees Iran痴 activities in Syria as a target. We will not hesitate to act, if our security needs require us to do so.

Macron reportedly attempted to reassure the Israeli leader and dissuade him from 塗asty action.

But Netanyahu was adamant, reportedly saying, 典he goal must be to minimize Iran痴 influence, not only in Lebanon but also in Syria Israel has tried up until now not to intervene in what is going on in Syria. But after the victory over Islamic State, the situation has changed because the pro-Iranian forces have taken control From now on, Israel sees Iran痴 activities in Syria as a target. We will not hesitate to act, if our security needs require us to do so.

Netanyahu vowed in a speech last week that Iran would not be allowed to gain a regional foothold. 展e have made it clear many times that we will not accept nuclear weapons in Iran痴 hands, nor will we allow the establishment of Iranian forces near our border, in the Syrian region in general, or anywhere else, he said.

Underlining the rising tensions, an Iranian military commander declared on Thursday that any future war in the region would result in the annihilation of Israel. Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran痴 Revolutionary Guards, told Iranian reporters that 殿ny new war will lead to the eradication of the Zionist regime.

A Syrian facility reportedly attacked by Israeli aircraft early on September 7, 2017. (screen capture: Twitter

On November 21, Netanyahu also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone about a ceasefire deal in the Syrian civil war and the Iranian presence near Israel痴 borders, the Prime Minister痴 Office said. 典he conversation lasted about half an hour and dealt with Syria, and Iran痴 attempt to entrench itself in Syria, Netanyahu痴 office said in a statement. 哲etanyahu insisted on Israeli security and reiterated his opposition to Iran痴 entrenchment in Syria.

The call was the latest in a series of high-level contacts between Israel and Russia, amid a dispute between the countries over allowing Iran and Shiite militias backed by Tehran to maintain a foothold in Syria near the Israeli border.

On October 17, Netanyahu met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Jerusalem, where the two men discussed the Islamic Republic痴 attempt to establish itself militarily in Syria. 的ran needs to understand that Israel will not allow this, Netanyahu told Shoigu, according to his office.

According to an unnamed Israeli official, under the Syrian ceasefire deal, militias associated with Iran would be allowed to maintain positions as close as five to seven kilometers (3.1-4.3 miles) to the border in some areas, Reuters reported two weeks ago.

The Israeli Air Force has carried out numerous airstrikes in Syria on weapons convoys bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, though it rarely acknowledges individual raids.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:12 AM
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Assad should do a KSA and sever ties with Iran if he wants his own state to survive.
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