'If we don't strike at Iran, it won't leave Syria' - former general

Israel is failing to keep the Iranians out of Syria, says Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad.

Amos Gilad (photo credit: EREZ HARODI - OSIM TSILUM)
Amos Gilad
(photo credit: EREZ HARODI - OSIM TSILUM)
Despite some tactical successes, Israel is failing to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria, said Major General (res.) Amos Gilad at an event organized by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in conjunction with the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, according to an IDC release.
The event was comprised of a panel discussion called "Russia: here to stay!" and touched on issues relating to Israel's position in Syria vis-a-vis Russia.
"If we don't strike at Iran, it won't leave Syria," said Gilad. "The latest Iranian [diplomatic] assaults against Israel raised the volatility of the region. Israel needs maximal freedom of action in Syria as part of an arrangement with Russia, and to strive for an achievement that would persuade Iran to withdraw."
Gilad served in the IDF for 30 years and held positions as head of Military Intelligence, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, and Military Secretary to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Gilad's statements come as the fight between Israel and Iran in Syria moves increasingly out into the open. In January, Iranian forces fired a surface-to-surface missile at Israel, that was intercepted over Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights as skiers looked on. Israel responded with strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, and Iranian and Syrian officials traded insults in an escalating war of words.
On February 12, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had struck Iranian positions the day before, signalling that Israel's policy of plausible deniablity regarding its operations in Syria is giving way to more open confrontation with Iranian forces.
Herb Keinon and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.