Friday, March 10, 2017

Israel Warns Russia Against Iranian Troops Buildup In Golan Heights

Israel warns Russia against Iranian troops buildup in Golan Heights

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused long-time enemy Iran of using the Syrian conflict to "gain a foothold to fight Israel" as Iranian troops reportedly straddle the 1967 ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.
Iran has long supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with deployments of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the volunteer Basij militia in addition to funding Israel's arch enemies, Hezbollah.
Skirmishes between Syrian forces and the Israel Defence Force (IDF) have occurred regularly in the Golan Heights since the start of the Syrian civil war six years ago. New reports suggest that the IRGC have positioned themselves along the border with the occupied Golan Heights.
Brig Gen Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, a commander in Iran's Basij force, was pictured surveying the border in July last year according to Israeli media.
And the Tehran-backed Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba said they were "ready to take action to liberate Golan" according to Iranian state media earlier this week.

In response to rising tensions in the region Netanyahu met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to express his view that any truce in Syria must not allow Iranian forces to stay in the country.
"We discussed at length the matter of Iran, its objectives and intentions in Syria, and I clarified that there cannot be a peace deal in Syria when Iran is there and declares its intention to destroy Israel," Netanyahu said, according to Reuters.
He added: "We do not want to see Shia Islamic terrorism led by Iran step in to replace Sunni Islamic terrorism," the Independent reported.

"Iran continues attempts to destroy the Jewish state. They speak of this openly and write this in black and white in their newspapers.
"Today, we have our own country and our army and we can defend ourselves. But I want to say that the threat of Shia Islamic terror is directed not only against us but against the region and the entire world."
He claimed Iran was "arming itself and its forces against Israel including from Syria territory and is gaining a foothold to continue the fight against Israel".
Tehran has emerged as a major player in the Syrian conflict and has met Russian and Turkish envoys in Astana, Kazakhstan, in attempts to thrash out a ceasefire.
For 50 years the Golan Heights has been the scene of intermittent fighting between Israel and Syria. The Israeli army seized the 1,200 sq km (460 sq miles) of land from Syria in the Six Day War of 1967.
Syria attempted to retake the area during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The Heights were then annexed by Israel in 1981.

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