Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu meets Putin

13 July, 2018, 11:55 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Israel will not ‘rule out’ ties with Syrian govt – Defence minister

Syria's official news agency SANA reported late on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at Syrian army positions located close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights causing only material damage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Federation on Wednesday that Israel does not intend to threaten Bashar al-Assad's regime and asked Moscow to work to remove Iranian forces from Syria, an Israeli official said.

Israel has grown deeply alarmed by the expanding clout of its arch enemy Iran during the seven-year war in Syria.

Israel shot down the drone. The army said it will "not allow any violation of Israeli airspace and will act against any attempt to hurt our civilians".

"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. In 1981, the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) adopted the law "On the Golan Heights", which unilaterally proclaimed Israel's sovereignty over this territory.

Israel has threatened to open fire at any Syrian government forces that try to deploy in a demilitarised Golan buffer zone set up under a 1974 United Nations -monitored armistice.

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Israel has been on high alert as Syrian government forces advance on rebels near the Golan, which Israel took from Syria in the earlier 1967 Middle East war.

In a related context, Shoygu called on Israel and Iran to exercise restraint, saying that a military confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria would lead to instability in the region.

Arguing that the Iranian presence in the Arab Republic and its strong foothold on its borders jeopardizes national security, Israel reserved the right to strike Iran-affiliated targets and weapons shipments destined for Hezbollah.

Israel seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Responding to a reporter's question if Israel would establish some kind of relations with Syria, Lieberman responded: "Our assessment is that we are far from that, but we do not rule out anything".

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