IDF will stop Iranian threat in Syria, declares Israeli defense minister

Israel will do what it takes to prevent an Iranian threat on its northern border, Liberman declared. 

Israel will not stand by while Iran advances in Syria and establishes itself militarily on Israel’s northern border, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated.

In an address to a forum at the Israeli Institute of Energy and Environment (IIEE) on Thursday, Liberman explained that “Iran, through its Revolutionary Guard, is trying to create a new reality around us with Iranian air and naval bases in Syria, with Shi’ite militias which number thousands of mercenaries and by the production of accurate weaponry in Lebanon.”

The Iranian forces are currently estimated to number 500 Iranian army soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah terrorists and several thousand guerrillas from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Liberman vowed that Israel “has no intentions of accepting these attempts, and will not be satisfied to serve as bystanders.”

The potential for a growing Iranian influence across the region is raising concern in predominantly Sunni Arab countries and in Israel, the nemesis of both Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly warned it will do what it takes to keep Iran from threatening its borders and has carried out airstrikes in Syria against suspected weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah.

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Israel pushed hard for a US- and Russia-brokered truce that came into effect recently in southern Syria to keep Iranian-backed militias at a distance from the Golan Heights, Israel’s northern border.

Liberman’s statements come just a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the Black Sea, where he warned that Iran’s military buildup is a significant danger not only to Israel, but to other countries as well.

“Iran makes huge efforts to cement its presence in Syria. This poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East and the whole world,” Netanyahu told Putin.

The Israeli leader was joined by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Meir Ben Shabbat, the recently appointed head of the National Security Council who reportedly presented Putin with sensitive intelligence materials on the issue in discussion.

Netanyahu further noted that wherever the Islamic State (ISIS) has retreated in Syria and Iraq, Iran has taken over and filled the vacuum. While ISIS poses a tactical threat to Israel, Iran poses a strategic one.

“We cannot forget for a moment that Iran continues to threaten the destruction of the State of Israel every day, arms terrorist organizations, encourages and initiates terror,” Netanyahu underscored, explaining why Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria and saying Israel would do whatever it takes to defend itself.

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The two leaders also discussed other recent developments in the region, including the ceasefire in Syria, which Russia is sponsoring. Israel opposes aspects of the ceasefire because it solidifies Iran’s presence on Israel’s northern border.

“Israel has no objection to a (peace) agreement in Syria, but we are firmly opposed to such an agreement in which Iran and its proxies will be left with a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told Putin already in May.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.