USA supports Israeli action against Iranian targets in Syria

BC-AP News Digest 3:15

Israel will do "whatever is necessary" to protect itself against aggression from Iran and Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said hours after an Iranian drone infiltration from Syria.

Israel on top of things ...

Israel has recently issued stern warnings about the increased Iranian involvement along its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

"I have been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran's military entrenchment in Syria". "Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel".

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, stated on Saturday that the UN chief is "following closely the alarming military escalation throughout Syria and the unsafe spillover across its borders".

"We share the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran's destabilizing activities that threaten worldwide peace and security", Rankine-Galloway said, "and we seek greater global resolve in countering Iran's malign activities".

In a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Netanyahu affirmed Israel's right to defend itself but vowed to continue cooperating with the Kremlin to avoid accidental clashes with Russian troops in Syria.

Israel has conducted numerous strikes inside Syrian borders to defend what it calls its red lines, and to prevent what it says is Iran's proxy Hezbollah - fighting alongside the Syrian regime - from acquiring advanced weaponry.

The Israeli air force launched a further series of strikes targeting what it said were Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria.

"[The drone maneuver was] an attempt of the Iranians to shape the situation in Syria toward the end of the civil war [for their own interests]", Kupperwasser explained to the press in a conference call, according to CBN News. "My feeling is that they don't have an interest in escalation".

Israel remains technically at war with Syria.

The Trump administration has come out in strong support of the Israeli action against Iranian targets in Syria, saying the U.S. backs its "staunch" ally's right to "defend" itself.

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Mr Guterres stressed that all concerned in Syria and in the region must abide by worldwide law.

The US administration has backed Israel's hawkish stance on Iran and declared containing Tehran's influence an objective of its Syria policy.

Which came to naught when the Syrian air defense comfortably acquired a radar lock on the Israeli F-16 (reportedly known in Israel as Sufa) and sent it down in flames and smoke.

Meanwhile, US State Department said it supported Israel's right to defend itself, blaming Iran for the confrontation and Russian Federation, who has been supporting President Bashar Assad, underlined the need to avoid a "dangerous escalation".

"The Syrians are playing with fire when they allow the Iranians to attack Israel from their soil", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli military, in a statement.

Stephane Dujarric, the United Nations chief's spokesman, said: "The secretary-general is following closely the alarming military escalation throughout Syria and the risky spillover across its borders".

Israel has repeatedly warned in recent weeks against the presence of Iranian forces in neighbouring Syria.

"We are not looking to escalate the situation", he added.

In response, Israeli F-16 fighter jets took off to strike the launch site and were met by massive Syrian antiaircraft fire, over 20 missiles launched from SA-5 and SA-17 batteries.

If the plane was in fact shot down by enemy fire, it could mark the first such instance for Israel since 1982 during the first Lebanon war.

He also noted that after decades during which Israeli warplanes were operating unmolested in Syria's airspace, the downing of one plane was to be expected, statistically. Waiting at the border was a group of Israeli Apache attack helicopters that swiftly downed the drone. "[Iran is] responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty". On a visit to Israel last month, US Vice President Mike Pence called Iran the world's "leading state sponsor of terror".

The Eurasia Group, a New York-based political risk consulting firm, said, "In order to reinforce deterrence, Israeli leaders will probably assess they need to show Iran, Hezbollah and Syria they will continue to strike targets despite the risk".

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