Liberman in Golan: IDF will act against Iranian presence in Syria

Israel will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, which would give it the ability to launch attacks on Israeli territory, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Tuesday during a tour of the Golan Heights with senior IDF officers.

"The Iranian presence in Syria is unreasonable, and we are not prepared to accept an Iranian presence in Syria anywhere, and as you have heard more than once, we will act against any Iranian consolidation in Syria,” the defense minister said.

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“The moment we identify an Iranian presence, we will act,” Liberman added, warning that there is no difference between a withdrawal of Iranian troops to 40 or 80 kilometers from Israel’s border.

According to Liberman, Israel has “identified elements” belonging to Iran and its Shiite proxy militias who “under the auspices of the regime” are trying to establish themselves on the Golan Heights.

“This effort to establish a terrorist infrastructure under the auspices of the regime, as far as we are concerned, is unacceptable and we will act with force against any terrorist infrastructure that we will see and identify here in the region,” Liberman warned. Defense Minister Liberman hopes fighting with Iran in Syria over for now and the message is clear, May 10, 2018 (Reuters)

Liberman also said that any Syrian soldier in the buffer zone endangers his life.

“I made it clear here both to the commanders and to the representatives of the UNDOF, that any Syrian entering into the buffer zone, every Syrian soldier in the buffer zone, would endanger his soul,” Liberman said.

Syrian regime forces backed by Shiite militias and Russian aerial bombing have advanced against rebel groups and retaken territory next to the Israeli border which has been under rebel control for the past four years.  As the offensive comes closer to Israel’s Golan Heights, Jerusalem has stressed for the 1974 separation of forces agreement between Israel and Syria to be upheld and the demilitarized buffer zone along the border be respected.

“We toured the border and saw the tents of the Syrian refugees. We are ready to grant any humanitarian assistance but we are not willing to accept any refugee in our territory,” Liberman said.

As a demilitarized zone, tens of thousands of Syrians from the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra have fled there to escape the offensive. Israel has stated that while it will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees it would not allow entry to any Syrian into Israeli territory.