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Israel concerned over Iran's efforts to establish presence in Syria

16 April 2018
Israel concerned over Iran's efforts to establish presence in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Western powers for launching missile strikes in Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons there, and called for the same "zero-tolerance" policy to be adopted towards preventing "terrorist states" from acquiring nuclear weapons, referring to Israel's main enemy Iran. "This morning the United States, France and the United Kingdom showed that their commitment is not limited to declarations of principles", he added in a statement.

"Israel fully supports [US President Donald] Trump's decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria".

"The most destabilizing factor in the Middle East is Iran, and President Assad must understand that when he allows a military Iranian foothold in Syria, he is endangering Syria and the stability of the region as a whole", Netanyahu warned. Asked how much warning Israel had received, the official told Reuters: "Between 12 and 24 hours, I believe".

The official went on to say that Syria's "murderous actions" jeopardize the country's territory, forces and leadership.

Israel's military asserts an unmanned Iranian aircraft shot down in February following infiltrating its air-space was armed with explosives and onto a mission to assault Israel.

"Syria and Russia are fighting a battle not only against terrorism, but also for protecting worldwide law ... based on respect for state sovereignty and the will of their people", Assad said at a meeting with members of Russia's ruling United Russia Party.

On April 9, seven Iranian personnel were among 14 people killed in an early-morning strike on the T-4 airbase in Syria, with regime allies Iran and Russian Federation blaming Israel for the attack.

The premier said he spoke with May on Saturday night following the joint strikes, which targeted three alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

The air strikes at multiple targets began around 9:00 pm Eastern Time (0100 GMT) and saw US, French and British assets firing missiles at the Bashar Assad regime's chemical production facilities.