Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting, June 17, 2018..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel will strike against Iranian efforts to entrench itself militarily throughout Syria, and not only along the Syrian-Israeli border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend.
Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that he spoke with both men and discussed the region, with an emphasis on Syria.
The prime minister said he reiterated and made clear the principles guiding Israeli policy toward Syria. “First of all, Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria,” he said.
“Second, we will take action – and are already taking action – against efforts to establish a militarily presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria, both close to the border
and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria,” he said.
Diplomatic officials said that Netanyahu raises the issue of Iranian activity in Syria in all his conversations with foreign leaders, and that there was no single trigger for bringing the issue up now, such as reports that some 500 Iranian- backed Shi’ite militias were concentrating near the Golan Heights in the tri-border area between Syria, Jordan and Israel.
“This is part of ongoing discussions with two important powers to stop Iran’s consistent efforts in Syria,” one official said. Iran keeps on trying to base itself in Syria, the official added, so Israel needs to continuously resist it.