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Israel says it will kill Assad if he keeps Iran in Syria



An Israeli minister has threatened the life of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his strategic alliance with Iran, which is supporting Damascus in a seven-year civil war against rebels and jihadists.

Suspected Israeli air strikes have devastated Iranian positions killing Iranian personnel operating in war-torn Syria, where Israel accuses Tehran of building a network of hostile, mostly Shiite-Muslim militias that threaten Israeli national security. With Iranian officials warning that they would resist such attacks, Israeli Energy Minister and cabinet member Yuval Steinitz said the consequences of allowing Iran and its allies to work in Syria would be fatal to Assad.

"If Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to allow Iranians to operate out of Syria, that would be the end of him, the end of his regime," Steinitz said Monday in an interview with Israeli news broadcaster Ynet, who later shared his words explained.

"If Assad allows Iran to turn Syria into a forward-looking base against us," he said, "to attack us from Syrian soil, he should know that this will mean his end."   RTS1O7SL Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reached an Israeli military in eastern Ghouta, Syria, on 18 March 2018 to shake hands. Israel is against Assad's Iranian support, but maintains close ties with the other ally of the Syrian leader, Russia. Syrian Arab News Agency / Reuters

While Israel has no formal relations with Iran, which secretly accuses it of building nuclear weapons and supporting terrorist organizations, it regularly adheres on contacts with Assad's other major foreign sponsor Russia. Steinitz praised the dialogue between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that sometimes there were "conflicts of interest" but "normally our interests converge"

"Everyone should understand, however, that certain things are red when someone Interested in preserving Assad's survival should they tell him to prevent rocket and drone strikes on Israel, "Steinitz said, adding that he has no" concrete proposal "to kill the Syrian leader.

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Steinitz compared the situation in Syria to that in Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah recently made a profit in nine years in the country's first parliamentary elections. Hezbollah is viewed by Israeli, Saudi and American top enemies as a terrorist organization and was created during the Israeli occupation of civil war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s.

In response to attacks, the Israelis invaded Lebanon in 1978 and 1982, one of Palestinian militias attempting to establish an independent state on a territory that is also claimed by Israel. The Israeli forces retreated in 2000, but invaded Hizbullah again in 2006 in response to Hezbollah's border assassinations, and retreated after a ceasefire about a month later. Both sides have occasionally met, and Assad's renewed conquest of much of Syria following a rebellion in 2011, backed by the West, Turkey and Arab Gulf states, has strengthened the position of Hezbollah and its allies. [194559005]  GettyImages- 955241996 Supporters of Hezbollah travel along the southern border of Lebanon with Israel, flashing the party's flags in the village of Adayseh on 6 May 2018, while the country has been voting in the first parliamentary elections for nine years. While voter turnout was less than half, Hezbollah's victories secured the race and frustrated neighboring Israel, which sees the group as a terrorist organization. ALI DIA / AFP / Getty Images

Israel was accused of supporting rebel groups near the occupied Golan Heights area and carrying out a series of deadly air strikes in Syria, even though they did not have officially chosen a page in the internal conflict of the country. On 9 February, an Israeli jet was shot down by the Syrian air defense after it struck in obvious retaliation against the Tiyas Syrian Air Force Base (T-4) because an Iranian drone had entered Israeli airspace. Last month, Russia accused Israel of re-assaulting the base, killing a number of Iranians.

In April, Israel was also charged with bombing the 47th Brigade military site in southern Hama province in Syria, a massive explosion strong enough to cause a small earthquake in neighboring Lebanon and Turkey. Iran has sworn that it will take revenge on the strikes.


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