Iran and Israel are shooting at each other in Syria. Why?

15 May, 2018, 13:25 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Iran and Israel are shooting at each other in Syria. Why?

On Thursday, in response to the Golan Heights attack, Israel said its fighter jets had struck nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure inside Syria - some 70 targets - in its biggest assault since Syria's civil war started in 2011.

Israel should "strike while the iron is hot" to curtail Iran's military expansionism in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, Galant, a member of the high-level security cabinet, said.

An image grab from a video broadcast on Syria's official TV purportedly shows Syrian air defence systems intercepting Israeli missiles over Syrian airspace.

He said that it was a mistake to think that Thursday morning's attacks on the Iranian bases had completely solved the problem, but that the army was ready for anything and would continue to do whatever necessary to ensure Israel is secure.

Israel has carried out scores of air strikes against suspected shipments.

A defiant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Iran had "crossed a red line" and Israel's action "was a consequence" of that.

In separate strike late Tuesday, a military outpost near the capital Damascus was hit with missiles fired from Israel, the Syrian government said.

At the same time, the government said it has tasked the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran with "taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions, using the results of the latest research and development of Iran's courageous nuclear scientists".

"Whatever happens in Syria happens under the command of the Syrians", said analyst Mohammad Marandi, who was part of Iran's negotiation team leading up to the nuclear deal.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran has played a bigger and bigger role backing the government of Bashar al-Assad by sending thousands of fighters and military advisers. Iran's presence in Syria is no match for Israel's powerful military, and Iran's hopes of salvaging the deal and appearing moderate on the world stage may further hinder its ability to strike back.

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Iranian state television announced the Israeli strikes, sourcing the information to Syria's state-run SANA news agency, and described the Israeli attack as "unprecedented".

Analysts say Israel feels it has a inexperienced mild from Washington to maneuver extra aggressively towards Iran's presence in Syria, significantly after Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Israel says it has conducted dozens of operations in Syria to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to one of its main foes, Iran-backed Hezbollah. The government said the US pullout damages USA credibility on the world stage and the credibility of accords the USA has signed, and puts "the present system of global law in serious danger".

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said Iran had obtained a letter sent by Mr Trump to Arab allies demanding that they do more for the United States in return for America's military presence in the Middle East. [Israel's] attacks on Syria.

Last month, an attack on Syria's T4 air base in the central Homs province killed seven Iranian military personnel. Soleimani is the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds expeditionary force which is fighting in both Iraq and Syria.

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The Kremlin says that Russian Federation and its ex-Soviet allies will sign a free trade pact with Iran.

Trump said the 2015 nuclear deal that allowed for the lifting of sanctions wasn't tough enough on Iran.

The sanctions issue has added to tensions between the USA and its European allies over the nuclear deal.

In a statement, the U.S. administration called the missile attacks "provocative" and added: "We strongly support Israel's right to act in self defence".

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