Offbeat Russia Builds Ties to Iran and Israel Amid Syria Feud

01:15  13 july  2018
01:15  13 july  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

Syrian state media says air defences hit Israeli plane, thwart missile strike

  Syrian state media says air defences hit Israeli plane, thwart missile strike Syrian military air defences struck an Israeli warplane and shot down Israeli missiles targeting the T4 air base in Homs province in response to an act of "aggression" on Sunday night, Syrian state media said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israel does not comment on foreign reports. Israel has grown deeply alarmed by the expanding clout of its arch enemy Iran during the seven-year war in neighbouring Syria. Israel's air force has struck scores of targets it describes as Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah.

patterns of thought. Russia has been serving as a buffer between Israel and Iran amid the fighting in Syria . The present enmity between Iran and the Arab states of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia in the first place, is just the latest incarnation of a very old feud .

Iran 's supreme leader sent a message through one of his top aides to Vladimir Putin on Thursday, just one day after the Russian president met with the head of Iran 's top foe, Israel . Ali Akbar Velayati, the international affairs adviser to Iran 's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

a group of people riding on the back of a truck © Provided by IBT Media Iran's supreme leader sent a message through one of his top aides to Vladimir Putin on Thursday, just one day after the Russian president met with the head of Iran's top foe, Israel.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the international affairs adviser to Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, visited Putin as part of a three-day visit to Moscow at a time of heightened international tension between Tehran and Israel. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Wednesday that the purpose of Velayati's visit was to deliver a "message" from Khamenei to Putin, according to the semi-official Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting agency. On Thursday, the Iranian envoy discussed their meeting.

Israel Warns 'Harsh Response' If Syria Enters Golan

  Israel Warns 'Harsh Response' If Syria Enters Golan Syria and Israel have been technically at war since 1948 and have fought at least three major conflicts, including in 1967 when Israel seized the Golan Heights.The Syrian military has rapidly advanced through the country's insurgent-held Daraa province, reclaiming towns and villages in a lightning offensive launched last month. Through this campaign, the Syrian government is set to regain control of the entire southwest region—except for the Golan Heights, a territory seized by Israel after a 1967 war with several Arab nations.

JERUSALEM — Israel clashed with Syrian and Iranian military forces on Saturday in a series of audacious cross-border strikes that could mark a Over the course of just eight days in February, the conflict in Syria intensified, with the U.S., Russia , Turkey, Israel and Iran all playing a part.

North Korea Reportedly Asked Israel for Billion in Cash to Halt Missile Sale to Iran . Russia will also publicly call for a total evacuation of foreign forces from Syria , which includes US and Turkish forces.

"The regional cooperation between the front of resistance, led by Iran, and Russia in countering terrorism and its sponsors in Syria and other countries of the region is an excellent example of Iran-Russia cooperation, which could be justified only by strategic and long-term relations," Velayati told reporters, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

Russia and Iran are part of a strategic alliance that has helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad overcome a 2011 uprising backed by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab countries, but the proliferation of Iran-backed militias in Syria has prompted U.S.-backed Israel to stage its own military action. For its part, Russia has attempted to balance its relationship with both countries.

Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu to meet Putin

  Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu to meet Putin Israel shot down a drone that flew in from Syria on Wednesday, the Israeli military said.A Patriot missile launched to intercept the drone, which set off air-defense sirens on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and nearby Jordanian border, the military said in a statement. It was the second such incident in the area in as many months.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have hit a new high following last weekend’s unprecedented military clashes inside Syria . Russia is trying to extricate itself militarily and secure a peace settlement. It has no interest in provoking Israel . Israeli military chief wants closer Saudi ties as Iran tensions rise.

The change in Russia ’s position has become clearer since Israel ’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Velayati took the opportunity to censure a "rebellious" President Donald Trump, who abandoned a historic nuclear deal with Iran and five major world powers in May. He also criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Putin on Wednesday, just as Velayati arrived in Moscow. Velayati said on Wednesday that Netanyahu's visit to Putin would not affect his own discussion with the Russian leader.

"He makes baseless and illogical remarks and nobody cares about his words," Velayati said of Netanyahu, according to Tasnim News Agency. "Therefore, his presence or absence in Russia has no effect on our strategic mission."

Related: What Does U.S. Even Want in Syria? Russia Asks, Says Americans Must Be Just as Confused

Netanyahu also praised his relationship with Putin, telling him "the cooperation between us is a central component in preventing a conflagration and deterioration of these and other situations," according to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. On Facebook, Netanyahu later said he "made clear the position of Israel against any Iranian presence in Syria." 

What Does U.S. Even Want in Syria? Russia Asks

  What Does U.S. Even Want in Syria? Russia Asks Russia's defense minister said the U.S. wants "to avoid the stabilization of the country, to prolong the conflict and to undermine Syrian territorial integrity."While Russia and the U.S. are both involved in battling jihadis in Syria, they do so in partnership with different local factions and support different outcomes for the country's seven-year civil war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu argued Wednesday that the U.S. had no legal mandate to be in Syria and had shifted its rhetoric over the years to justify its prolonged presence.

Israel ’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with his Russian counterpart Thursday amid reports the Russia and Iran have been helping the military of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to crush a Iran denies it is setting up permanent bases in Syria , but it has been building up its forces there.

Israel has maintained a good relationship with the Kremlin amid Russia 's tensions with the West. But as the Assad regime's victories bring Iran closer to the Israeli border, Russia is finding it harder to balance its needs in Syria with its Israeli ties .

The Israeli leader also discussed a reported drone that entered his country's airspace from Syria before being shot down by a Patriot missile and reiterated his threat to respond to any such alleged ceasefire violations near the Golan Heights, a southwestern Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967.

That night, after the meeting, the Israeli military made a rare admission of its involvement in Syria, saying it "targeted three military posts in Syria in response to the infiltration of the Syrian UAV into Israel." Citing an official Syrian military source, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported that "Israeli enemy aircraft fired several missiles at some army positions in the vicinity of the towns of Hader and Tel Karroum Jabba in the countryside of Quneitra, only material damage was inflicted."

a man standing on top of a dirt field © Provided by IBT Media

While Israel has remained publicly neutral in Syria's seven-year civil war, it has offered medical assistance to insurgents operating near the occupied Golan Heights and has reportedly offered some financial assistance to the opposition as well. Israel has also accelerated a campaign of airstrikes against military positions it alleges to be associated with Iran. On Sunday, the Syrian Ministry of Defense claimed it "thwarted an Israeli aggression and a number of missiles aimed at the T4 airport, hitting one of the attack aircraft and forcing the rest to leave."

Israeli air strikes hit southwest Syria: Damascus state media

  Israeli air strikes hit southwest Syria: Damascus state media Israeli air strikes on Wednesday hit Syrian army positions in the southwest of the country near the occupied Golan Heights, state news agency SANA said. "The aircraft of the Israeli enemy launches a number of missiles at several army positions" in the southwestern province of Quneitra, causing material damage, it said.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said missiles likely fired by Israeli forces hit the north of the province and areas along the border with the Golan.

JUST WATCHED. Israel pounds Iranian targets across Syria . Replay. More Videos The extended barrage of fire comes amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran , rivals battling Russia , which like Iran has intervened in Syria 's war on the side of the government, called for "restraint on all sides."

Iran continues to train and equip fighters while strengthening ties with allies in Iraq and Lebanon, in hopes of building a united front in the event of a new war. “The ultimate goal is, in the case of another war, to make Syria a new front between Israel , Hezbollah and Iran ,” said Amir Toumaj

Meanwhile, the Syrian military has swept through one of the country's last rebel-held regions in the southwestern province of Daraa, which borders the Israel-occupied Golan Heights. Reports have emerged suggesting that the U.S., Russia, Jordan and other involved powers negotiated the exclusion of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias from the offensive, but opposition activists have claimed that such fighters still had a role.

Expecting the Syrian government to fully retake Daraa, one of the first cities to be seized by rebels, Israel has said it would not intervene in the Syrian military operation. Netanyahu told reporters Thursday that Israel "had no problem with the Assad regime," according to the Times of Israel, citing four decades without major aggression in the occupied Golan Heights.

Did Trump and Putin Agree on Plan to End Syrian War? .
The deal would address the future of Assad, Iran's place in Syria - and Syria's relations with Israel.One major result of the Helsinki summit has been overlooked in the furore over Russian election meddling—Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin essentially agreed to an endgame to the Syrian civil war. The basic outlines of the deal are now clear, experts say.

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