TEL AVIV – The U.S., Russia and Israel are said to have reached a consensus on the threat posed by pro-Iranian forces in Syria, the Kuwati daily newspaper Al-Rai reported Saturday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived at an understanding with Washington and Moscow that pro-Iranian forces, including Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, constitute an “existential threat” to the Jewish state. The three countries agreed that pro-Iranian forces would need their movements in Syria restricted, eventually leading to their expulsion from the war-torn country.
The report cited unnamed U.S. officials saying that Israel was conducting military strikes in Syria, including airstrikes on Hezbollah-bound weapons convoys, in order to curb the threat. At the same time, Russia is reported to be withdrawing its forces in areas of southern Syria, leaving the Assad regime to take over.
Israel is hoping that pressure exerted by Washington and Moscow will help weaken pro-Iranian military entities to the point where they can be removed entirely from Syria.
However, Tehran’s grip over Damascus means that this will be no easy task, a U.S. official told the paper.
Israel has long harbored concerns over Iran’s presence in Syria, and the Jewish state has made it clear that it will not allow for proxies of the Islamic Republic to remain a permanent fixture in its northern neighbor.
Netanyahu has vowed to continue strikes against Iran’s affiliates, like Hezbollah, who threaten Israel.
Lebanese newspaper Al-Diyar reported over the weekend that the Assad regime in Syria sent messages to Israel via Russia threatening that any further strikes by the Israeli military within Syria’s borders will be met with Scud missiles capable of carrying half a ton of explosives being fired deep into the Jewish state.
Syria added that strikes on its military would result in Scuds being launched at IDF bases, while strikes in civilian areas would be met with counterstrikes on the northern coastal city of Haifa and petrochemical plants in the region, the report claimed.