Lieberman clarifies Israel will protect its interests amid Syria tensions

14 February 2018, 05:48 | Isaac Mcdaniel

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Not only did the drone bring devastating Israeli reprisals against Syria and embarrass Iran's ally Russia, it brought attacks on Russian-provided and possibly Russian-manned air defenses.

Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashes under Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

As the pilots parachuted to safety in Israel, a second wave of air attacks were launched to punish the Syrians and Iranians. Loss of F-16 was confirmed by Israeli authorities.

Last weekend's conflagration led to the first shoot-down of an Israeli aircraft in over 35 years.

An Iranian general, meanwhile, said Monday the Islamic Republic is doubling down on efforts to bolster its missile launching capabilities.

'We inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces, ' he said.

Iran maintains the drone never crossed over into Israeli airspace, calling the idea of it "laughable".

That's the reason Israel stepped up its air attacks on February 10, focusing on what it called "Iranian bases", and why the United States has announced it will maintain and increase its troop levels in Syria. "A good way to achieve both objectives would be back Israel's response to Iran's aggression - now and in the future".

"We continue to work with the Russians and with other partners in the region to support the Geneva process".

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not ruling out further military action. Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the Syrian conflict to assert himself on the world stage.

"We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us", he told his Cabinet.

While the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the Israeli strikes on targets in Syria, urging the sides to avoid escalating the situation, the US expressed full support for Israel, backing Israel's claims and blaming Iran for escalating the situation in Syria. Should Iran turn course and limit its role in Syria to ease Israel's fears of being encircled by Iran and its proxies, Tehran will lose its credibility as a determined regional power that can support its allies during political and military confrontation with the West & Israel. "We support Israel's right to defend itself against any incursions into its territory". Even the Israeli news site Walla made the foreboding prediction that this was a sign of ominous things to come along Israel's northern front. Another is that by establishing deterrence, the US could force Iran to forgo its "land bridge" to the Mediterranean Sea and give the USA and its allies more leverage to renegotiate the nuclear deal and address its weaknesses.

For instance, supposed allies the United States and Turkey are trading threats over northern Syria. Both Turkey and Iran are anxious due to their Kurdish minorities, which have argued for independence in decades past.

Iran's involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat.

"By Allah's favor and grace, nothing called the Zionist regime will exist by 25 years from now".

En route to Rome on Sunday for an anti-ISIS conference, Mattis said the USA had no involvement in the operation "on a military basis".

The official added that the aircraft had targeted a Syrian army base in the central region of the country. "Iran can create a hell for the Zionist regime of Israel", Salami said. Reports suggest that it might be the first such incident of an Israeli fighter plane being shot down by enemy fire since the 1982 Lebanon War.

"Today's developments mean the old equations have categorically ended", a Hezbollah statement read.

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