Israel, Iran and the war for Syria

Violet Powell
February 14, 2018

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The Israeli Air Force then retaliated for the incursion by dispatching its fighter jets to hit government and Iranian targets in Syria, only for one of its F-16s to crash to the ground after coming under heavy anti-aircraft fire. Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to back the troops of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad, said the developments mean "a decisive end to old arrangements". "We do not confirm any such news from Israel", he said. Never mind these new members of Turkey's Free Syrian Army are the very terrorists Iraq, Syria, Kurds, the various Arab militia, Russian Federation and the United States have been fighting for at least seven years. This continued in the jump until a couple of US diplomats cited Israel's right to defend itself, and then blamed Iran.

Israel's concern is well-founded.

The same day, the headquarters of a group of so-called "Syrian Democratic Forces", a joint Arab and Kurdish force backed by the US, came under attack. After all, if the drone had not been over Israeli airspace, it would have been far harder for Israel to justify its actions.

An Iranian general, meanwhile, said Monday the Islamic Republic is doubling down on efforts to bolster its missile launching capabilities.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the aircraft was a copy of a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone that was reverse-engineered by Iran. "Putin blew the whistle to stop the confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria and both sides accepted his decision", the paper writes. Subsequent attacks were carried out against four additional Iranian targets and eight Syrian sites.

But Israel's increasing involvement is playing into the hands of Iran.

What Tehran wants is bases in Syria from where it can threaten Israel - and Israel knows this.

The attack came after Israel shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country.

Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed the F-16 as it returned from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria early on Saturday.

On February 10, Syrian forces had shot down Israel's F-16 warplane in response to Israeli "aggression" against army base in central Syria. In a matter of seconds, the pilot and navigator were forced to bail out of the plane before it crashed in northern Israel.

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By 2014, IS militants began seizing large swaths of Syrian territory, including Raqqa as its de facto capital and the oil region Deir ez-Zor, as well as territory in Iraq.

The military says it has the drone in its possession.

"God willing, they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria", Sussan added, during a news conference in Damascus.

The TV broadcaster said sounds of explosions were heard Saturday in Reef Damascus province, near the capital.

The report said the Israeli army had "refused to comment". But he argues that Israel alone can not stop Iran.

Israel has said it will press ahead with missions in Syria, where it has launched scores of sorties against suspected arms transfers to Hezbollah.

Israel called the new escalation "severe violation of Israeli sovereignty".

Israel responded fiercely with a massive airstrike that took out as much as half of Syria's air defenses.

Iran maintains the drone never crossed over into Israeli airspace, calling the idea of it "laughable".

Even before the weekend strikes, the International Crisis Group think tank warned Iran 's activities in Syria were fuelling Israeli fears of Iranian bases on its borders.

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