Israel retaliates against the SAA

Discussion in 'The Middle East & North Africa' started by Seraph, Jul 12, 2018.

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  1. Seraph

    Seraph 2nd Lieutenant

    Sep 15, 2016
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    BEIRUT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel attacked Syrian army posts on Thursday near the Golan frontier after a drone incursion, but signaled it would not impede President Bashar al-Assad’s battle to recover south Syria from rebels.

    With the help of heavy Russian air power, Syrian government forces have swept through the southwest. Their offensive against insurgents is expected to turn soon to Quneitra, which adjoins the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, briefing Israeli reporters on a visit to Moscow, indicated that Israel would not act against Assad, while it is working to ensure the exit of the Iranian forces that fight alongside his army.

    “We never had a problem with the Assad regime. For forty years (after the 1973 Middle East war), not one bullet was fired on the Golan Heights,” a reporter for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted Netanyahu as saying.

    “The heart of the matter is retaining our freedom of action against anyone who acts against us, and the removal of the Iranians from Syrian territory,” Netanyahu said, a day after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Putin also held talks on Syria with Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, in Moscow on Thursday, the Kremlin said.

    Israel has been on high alert as Syrian government forces advance on rebels near the Golan, much of which Israel took from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel worries Assad could let his Iranian allies entrench there or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan demilitarization.

    In three weeks, Syrian government forces in the south have seized much of Deraa province - the birthplace of the 2011 uprising - and marched toward the border.

    The pro-Damascus newspaper al-Watan said on Thursday the army sent reinforcements to Quneitra to launch a “broad military operation” and bring all the province under state rule.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said rebel factions clashed with government forces overnight in Quneitra. State news agency SANA said insurgent shelling injured five people in Baath City.