IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Amid rising tensions on the Syrian border, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said Tuesday that the army would continue to work to prevent advanced weaponry from getting into the hands of the wrong people.
Eisenkot, speaking at a security and strategy conference named in honor of the late former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in Netanya, made the comments days after Syrian government forces fired an anti-aircraft missile at Israel Air Force jets during an air-strike last Friday to halt the flow of advanced weapons to Hezbollah near Palmyra.
The IDF chief stated that one of the army's missions was to "prevent the strengthening of those who should not be strengthened by [the acquisition of] advanced weaponry." He said that the IDF's policy regarding the Syrian civil war was one of "non-intervention alongside preserving our interests."
Eisenkot said that it was in Israel's interest to keep the northern border quiet, as it had managed to do over the past six years despite the civil war raging in Syria.
The IDF chief's comments came after a rare acknowledgment of the rising tensions on the Israel-Syrian border from Syrian President Bashar Assad
“Defending our borders is our right, and it’s our duty, not only our right,” he told Russian reporters in Damascus according Russian news site Sputnik.
Assad also told Russian parliament members, who paid an official visit to the capital on Monday, that he was counting on Moscow to prevent Israel from attacking his country in the future.
“We are counting on Russia to prevent a conflict with Israel,” Assad was quoted as saying by several Russian media outlets.
On Friday, Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow to defend the air-strike. According to media reports, the strike occurred very close to Russian troops.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.