Israel to Assad: Stop Iran or we’ll bomb your palace

Israeli officials reportedly threaten to bomb Syrian president’s residence if he doesn’t stop Iranian arms smugglers operating within his country’s borders.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that one of his palaces would be bombed if he continues allowing Iranian assets arming Hezbollah to operate with impunity in his country, Saudi newspaper Elaph reported.

The threat came just days after Israeli airstrikes on Damascus airport saw the country’s biggest transportation hub shuttered until further notice.

Although Israel did not formally claim responsibility for the strike, in line with its policy towards operations in Syria and Lebanon, it’s widely believed that the bombing came due to Iranian arms traffickers utilizing the airport to arm Hezbollah and other proxy groups.

According to a translation of the Elaph article, Israel told Assad that he would be wise to stop “covering up Iran’s operations in his country” and urged him to “halt the transfer of quality weapons to Syria.”

Officials also “informed him that one of his palaces would be a target in the next raid carried out by Israeli fighters in Syria.”

Notably, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a nearly identical threat in August 2017 during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Israel and Iran have long been engaged in a shadow war, which appears to have ramped up as of late. A string of high-profile assassinations of Iranian military officials and scientists have been attributed to Israel, sparking fears of revenge attacks against Israeli citizens abroad.

Some commentators called upon Syria to strike Israel as a response to the bombing of the airport.

“I believe Syria is more likely than not to retaliate for this latest blatant aggression even if it leads to all-out war,” wrote Abdel Bari Atwan, a staunchly anti-Israel Palestinian writer and editor, in Arab news website Rai Al Youm.

“The large-scale military exercises ordered by Asad the day after the attack suggest a response could be imminent.”

In recent years, Israel has carried out thousands of air raids on Iranian intelligence gathering and other military assets within Syria.