Defense Minister: Israel will prevent Iran from establishing corridor to Syria

Israel’s defense chief pledged to prevent Iran’s military buildup on its northern border. 

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed to prevent Iran from establishing a “Shi’a corridor” from Tehran to Damascus. He made the statement just hours after Israel purportedly struck a Syrian military center believed to be producing chemical weapons and precision missiles.

“We are not looking for any military adventure in Syria but we are determined to prevent our enemies from harming, or even creating the opportunity to harm the security of Israeli citizens,” Liberman told Israel’s Radio FM 100 on Thursday.

“Therefore, everything will be done to prevent the existence of a Shi’a corridor from Tehran to Damascus,” he said.

Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) said the alleged Israeli strike occurred near the city of Hama. The Syrian army proceeded to warn Israel of “serious consequences” for its “aggressive activities,” which it argued destabilize the region and “raise the Islamic State’s morale.”

The IDF has neither confirmed nor denied its role in the strike.

Iran Forcing Israel to React

During a state visit to Germany on Thursday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Iran and Hezbollah are attempting to create a permanent foothold in Syria that will “force Israel to react.”

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Rivlin said Iran’s efforts to establish a foothold in Syria and create Shi’a militias throughout the Middle East represent a direct threat to Israel, and that Iran is liable to “sink the whole region into war.”

The Israeli president also said the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group had “consistently violated UN Security Council resolutions,” which is endangering both the Lebanese and Israeli people.

“The president clarified that the weapons infrastructure that Hezbollah was building may require the State of Israel to respond,” a statement by Rivlin’s office said.

The Israeli president thanked Merkel for Germany’s strong military support for Israel, which has included strategic weapons systems such as nuclear-capable submarines.

“We all hope this commitment will remain between the two countries forever, regardless of which coalition is in power in either country,” Rivlin said.