An Israeli drone strike reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia Sunday afternoon, amid spiraling tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Israeli aircraft struck a truck driving near the town of Khan Arnabeh in the Quneitra province, on the road to Damascus.
The National Defense Force, a pro-regime militia set up in 2012, claimed the man killed was from among its ranks.
“The national defense force mourns with pride and sorrow the news of the martyrdom of the heroic fighter Yasser Hussien Assayed,” the group said in a Facebook post.
The group, reportedly set up with the held of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, published four pictures it said were from the scene of the alleged airstrike.
The group said an Israeli drone carried out the strike.
The Lebanese news channel NBN reported that the man killed was a Syrian air defense commander. Other reports said Assayed was a civilian.
The Palestinian daily al Quds earlier on Sunday cited Syrian sources who said the Syrian army had targeted an Israeli drone in Quneitra, causing the drone to retreat.
The IDF refused to confirm or deny the reports.
The reported strike came hours after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems, after Israeli aircraft were targeted during a bombing run early Friday morning.
The head of the IDF warned Beirut Sunday that it would continue to thwart terror group Hezbollah and any future war with the Shiite group would take place on Lebanese territory, as tensions rose over airstrikes against the group in Syria.
In a “future war, there will be a clear address: the state of Lebanon and the terror groups operating in its territory and under its authority,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said during a ceremony at an army base in northern Israel.
On Friday, Israeli planes struck deep inside Lebanon to thwart an arms transfer to the terror group. On Sunday, another IDF strike was reported in the Syrian Golan against a fighter for a pro-regime militia with links to Hezbollah.
Eizenkot warned that Hezbollah was bolstering its military capabilities and operating south of the Litani river near the border with Israel, against a UN-brokered ceasefire, following the 2006 war between Israel and the terror group.
“In Lebanon, Hezbollah continues to arm itself and strengthen itself,” he said at the ceremony marking the change in the head of the Northern Command. “We will continue to act divisively to thwart these efforts and will continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah,” he said.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.
"The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation," Lieberman said on Israeli public radio.
Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Syria on Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the strikes targeted weapons bound for Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.
Syria's military said it had downed one of the Israeli planes and hit another as they were carrying out the pre-dawn strikes near the famed desert city of Palmyra that it recaptured from jihadists this month.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened to destroy Syria's air defense systems if they target the Israeli jets once again.
"The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation. Israel's security is above everything else; there will be no compromise," Lieberman said on Israeli public radio on Sunday.
His remarks come after Israeli warplanes had attacked several targets in Syria overnight on Thursday.
On Friday, Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed the attacks saying that it targeted a convoy which was supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement.
"The Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on a convoy in Syria, carrying a batch of weapons for Hezbollah," Katz said in a statement, distributed by his press service.
The Syrian Army command said in a statement it had downed one of the Israeli Air Force jets that violated its airspace, while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) denied these claims to Sputnik.
The IDF, in turn, said on Friday that it used the advanced Arrow missile defense system to shoot down a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was fired at an Israeli jet.
Also on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Israeli air strikes in Syria, making a "rare statement on the matter," according to Israeli media. He defended Israel's right to protect itself from the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah, which Israel classifies as a terrorist organization,
"Israel does not usually confirm or deny individual raids, but it may have been led to do so this time by the circumstances of the incident," Israeli international news TV channel i24 News reported on the issue.
- The Chinese puppet state of North Korea is out of control. They threaten to attack the United States at the drop of a hat. They launch missiles over Japan. They have threatened to unlease both nuclear and EMP weapons. Secretary of State Tillerson has stated that America’s “patience” with North Korea has passed. Even if the Americans continue to exercise patience with North Korea, Japan is readying its forces to attack North Korea. The next bad act by North Korea will be the last and China did not directly confront this possibility.
- China’s absurd claim that they own the South China Sea is another point of contention. China has gone so far as to militarize artificial islands to take the place of aircraft carriers, that the Chinese lack, in the region. This move by China is highly disruptive to trade between several US trading partners. In effect, the Chinese are in the early stages of laying down a blockade and this is an act of war that the Chinese did not back away from in the talks.
- The US deployment of the THADD missile system is opposed by Russia and China. This is true mostly because the two communist superpowers do not yet have an effective military response to this latest US threat. With limited manpower and the fact that the Russians have announced plans to launch killer satellite devices into space is something that the US cannot afford to let happen.
4.The trade imbalance between the US and China has reached critical levels. Trump refuses to allow it to continue. And the troubled Chinese economy needs this $800+ billion trade deficit to continue.
Both sides are trying to put a positive spin on Tillerson’s trip to China. However, the most important statistic is that Tillerson’s meeting with President Xi was a courtesy call that only lasted seven minutes. It was a perfunctory meeting. It was an unmitigated snub by the Chinese President.
To save face, it was stated that “President Xi Jinping was receiving the US Secretary of State because China’s top envoy was in Washington last month where he met President Donald Trump,” Xi said.
“The real talking was done behind the scenes on Saturday, principally with China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, and North Korea topped the agenda and NOTHING was accomplished.
“We’ve seen flickers of cooperation between the US and China but no firm agreement on how to deal with North Korea.”
Tillerson’s trip was an unmitigated failure. China has no intention of backing down on anything and it takes two sincere parties to negotiate.
The mere fact that Tillerson came home with nothing concrete, only empty pledges to cooperate, is very telling. The United States and China are on the fast track to World War III.
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