Israel Launches Heavy Air Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria

Israel Launches Heavy Air Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria

Israel Launches Heavy Air Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria

Israel responded with air strikes into Syria this morning after the Iranian drone was shot down. These include transferring weaponry to Lebanon's Hizbullah and the establishment of small facilities for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Damascus region (the IRGC is said to have 2,500 personnel in Syria, mainly in an advisory capacity).

In a statement today (Saturday), Lebanon's Foreign Ministry said it will complain to U.N. Security Council. Adrian Rankine-Galloway said the United States shares "the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran's destabilizing activities threaten worldwide peace and security, and we seek greater global resolve in countering Iran's malign activities".

"Our policy is clear: Israel will defend itself against any aggression and any attempt to violate its sovereignty", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media. It is highly unlikely that Putin had advance information about Iran's intention of sending the drone, but it is nearly certain that the Russian air defense officers who are training Syria's anti-aircraft forces knew about the firing of anti-aircraft missiles at the Israel Air Force plane.

"This incident proves that every one of these warnings proved true", Danon added, referring to the operation of the Iranian drone.

Reuters reports that Israel has kicked off implementation of the threat. "However, we are not looking to escalate the situation", Conricus posted on his official Twitter feed.

An Israeli military spokesman said Israel did not seek escalation in the region, calling its action a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression. In response, IDF attacked the Iranian aircraft's launch components in Syrian territory. Iran's military chief warned Israel last October against breaching Syrian airspace and territory.

The incident marked the first occasion that Israel has publicly acknowledged attacking what it identified as Iranian targets in Syria since the conflict started.

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According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, "We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region".

Netanyahu also said that he spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, noting that Israeli-Russian military coordination vis-a-vis Syria will continue.

Despite rising tension and hostile rhetoric, both Israel and Syria signaled that neither is interest in war, but situations such as this often make that hard.

It retaliated by sending at least eight jets to attack Syrian and Iranian military bases, which according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights were located near Homs province.

Netanyahu is seeking to persuade Russian Federation to limit Iran's presence near Israel and to stop it from entrenching itself militarily in Syria.

In Russia, whose forces began intervening in support of Syria's President Bashar al Assad in 2015, officials said they were "seriously concerned" by the confrontation.

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