The reported Israeli air strike on a weapons facility near the western Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday sent a “resounding message” to regional players, according to a former IDF Military Intelligence chief.
The attack was proof that Israel was “insisting on red lines against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin — who as an IAF pilot participated in the 1981 destruction of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor and is now the director of the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Insitute for National Security Studies — tweeted on Thursday.
The incident, Yadlin pointed out, took place around the same time Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Tehran and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was meeting with a top Hamas official, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut.
Referencing the ongoing tension on the Gaza border following the detonation by the IDF of an Islamic Jihad tunnel earlier this week, Yadlin said, “While Israel is acting against the strengthening of its enemies in the north and south, at the same time, it must ensure it has the ability to control the escalation on both the fronts.”
Since the civil war in Syria erupted in 2011, Israel has largely sought to remain neutral in the bloody conflict. However, the IDF has responded with pinpoint strikes to occasional cross-border fire — both errant and intentional — in the Golan Heights and has reportedly bombed a number of Hezbollah-bound arms convoys and other targets in Syria tied to the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shia terror group in recent years.
Israel has also provided medical treatment to thousands of people wounded in the fighting in Syria.
Recently, Israel has been publicly expressing its concerns about Iran’s ongoing bid to set up a permanent presence in Syria.
In August, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Sochi for a sit-down with Putin. At the meeting, Netanyahu stated, “Iran is increasing its efforts to establish its military foothold in Syria. That is dangerous for Israel, the Middle East and, I believe, the whole world.”
After Moscow’s military intervention in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime began two years ago, Israel and Russia set up a coordination mechanism to avoid unintended confrontations between their forces.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Barney Breen-Portnoy