Iran, backed by Damascus, insists that it’s here to stay: “We will remain in Syria as long as there is a threat of terror.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
In a visit to the Judea and Samaria Division of the IDF earlier today (Wednesday), Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman once again addressed Iran’s presence in Syria. “We have no interest in a confrontation on Syrian soil, but we will not allow Iran to establish itself,” Lieberman said. “If we see continued attempts to do so, we will act again.”
Two weeks ago, over 20 rockets were fired at the Israeli Golan Heights by Iranian forces. Most of the rockets fell in Syria while four of the rockets were shot down by Iron Dome batteries. In response, the IDF attacked about 50 Iranian targets and severely weakened Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria.
That being said, Iran still poses a threat to the Jewish state. Until Iranian forces leave Syria, Israel will be forced to remain on high alert and clashes on the border are inevitable. Some Israeli government officials have therefore been pushing for a more severe attack on Iran’s strongholds in Syria.
Israel is not the only one anxious to see Iran return its forces from whence they came; Russia’s Special Envoy for Syria has called for all foreign troops, Russian forces excluded, to leave Syria. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in response that they “will remain in Syria as long as there is a threat of terror and as long as the Syrian government wants us there.”
Damascus has since voiced its support for Iran’s presence in Syria; according to Reuters, Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that “whether Iranian forces or Hezbollah withdraw or stay in Syria is not up for discussion because it’s the (business) of the Syrian government.”