Israel Attacks Bases in South Syria; Syrian Air Defenses Intercept Some Missiles

13 July, 2018, 11:53 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party in the Knesset

A Syrian drone infiltrated Israeli airspace Wednesday and was shot down by a Patriot missile fired by IDF aerial defense units in the north of Israel.

Several missiles launched by Israeli aircraft have struck Syrian army positions in the Quneitra Governorate near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, in what the IDF called a retaliation for an earlier drone infiltration.

As Netanyahu was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, "To our friends in Israel - be very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect USA interests".

Mr Putin and Mr Netanyahu had reportedly reached an agreement for Russian Federation to hold back Iranian-backed groups from the border before the Syrian regime began its offensive against rebels there last month.

Russian Federation was already working to distance Iranian forces from areas of Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and had proposed that they be kept 80 km (50 miles) away but this fell short of Israel's demand for a full exit, the official said.

Syrian state media said the missiles targeted positions around Hader village in the southern province of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The plateau is not recognised internationally as Israeli territory.

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"We won't take action against the Assad regime, and you get the Iranians out", the official, who requested anonymity, quoted Netanyahu as telling Russia's Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, according to Reuters news agency. We will not allow Iran's entrenchment in Syria and we will not allow Syrian soil to be turned into a vanguard against the State of Israel.

Israeli cabinet ministers threatened this week there would be fire on Syrian forces that enter the Golan buffer zone set up as part of a 1974 United Nations-monitored armistice.

The Golan Heights was captured by Israel amid war in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981.

"It is clear that our focus is on Syria and Iran", Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.

"In recent weeks we are prepared for the possibility of Israeli sovereignty being violated as a result of the fighting in Syria", Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Ronen Manelis said.

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