(December 3, 2017 / JNS)
Israel, Iran and Syria have remained silent following reports in Arab media of an alleged Israeli strike Friday night on an Iranian military base in Syria that reportedly killed 12 Iranian military personnel.
“We do not confirm information from foreign sources,” the IDF told JNS.org.
Although he also did not confirm the alleged strike, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night reiterated Israel’s oft-stated position that the Jewish state will not allow Iran to maintain a military presence in Syria.
“We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state.”
Lebanese and Saudi media stated that the Iranian military casualties were initially reported through the Telegram messaging app on accounts belonging to personnel from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Syrian state television reported that the Israeli strike occurred eight miles from the Syrian capital of Damascus near the city of Al-Kiswa and destroyed an arms depot belonging to the regime. Other reports stated that the target was an Iranian military base that was recently constructed just 31 miles from the Israeli border.
In a BBC report that revealed the Iranian base’s presence in November, satellite images showed the construction of some two dozen new structures in the area that are likely used for housing soldiers and vehicles. Analysts estimate that up to 500 troops could be housed in those facilities.
Various reports stated that Friday night’s loud explosions were heard near Damascus and that electricity was cut in several areas of Syrian capital during the purported airstrike.
Sky News Arabia stated that the airstrike was launched from Lebanese airspace and that Syria’s air-defense system fired on Israeli warplanes. According to Syrian state media, two Israeli surface-to-surface missiles were intercepted by Syria’s air-defense system.
Will Russia make Syria ‘clean’ of Iranian forces?
The alleged Israeli strike follows reports that Russia is working to remove Iranian forces from Syria.
“Russia is working so that [Syrian President] Bashar Assad will control Syria and that the country will be clean of foreign forces, including Iranian forces,” MK Avi Dichter (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Israel Hayom last Thursday.
Dichter, a former director of the Shin Bet security agency, last week made an official three-day visit to Russia, where he headed a delegation of six Knesset members who held meetings with Russian government officials.
Dichter’s trip followed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s surprise visit to Russia in late November. While in Russia, Assad relayed a message to Israel via Moscow that Damascus would be willing to implement a 25-mile buffer zone along the Jewish state’s border with Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly delivered the Syrian offer to Netanyahu in a phone call. Netanyahu stated that he would be willing to discuss the deal with Israel’s security establishment, but that Israel still seeks the complete ouster of Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah from Syria.
The latest in a series of alleged strikes
The latest alleged Israeli strike in Syria comes after the Israeli military purportedly
attacked a Syrian munitions factory Nov. 1 in the area of Homs. No casualties were reported following the incident.
Israel also allegedly struck three Syrian rocket launchers Oct. 21, after several rockets from Syria entered the Israeli Golan Heights. Days before the incident, Israel purportedly destroyed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery after it opened fire on Israeli Air Force reconnaissance planes.
The October strike came amid a rare visit to Damascus by Iranian military chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri. During his visit, Bagheri signed a memorandum of understanding with his Syrian counterpart, Chief of Staff Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, calling to enhance the countries’ military, intelligence and technological coordination against “Zio-American schemes.”
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.
JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.
During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.
Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.