Israeli diplomatic official: Iran’s the one destabilizing Syria

Israeli diplomatic official: Iran’s the one destabilizing Syria

Comment comes a day after Putin asks Netanyahu to avoid ‘any actions that might further destabilize’ war-torn country

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, April 11, 2018 (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, April 11, 2018 (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)

An Israeli diplomatic official asserted Thursday that it is Iran that is destabilizing Syria, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid any steps that could increase instability there.

“What undermines stability in Syria is Iranian aggression and its attempt to establish itself militarily in Syria in order to threaten Israel and other countries,” the official said.

Asked if the remark was in response to Putin’s request, the official refused to elaborate.

The Israeli and Russian premier spoke over the phone on Wednesday amid escalating threats between Jerusalem and Tehran.

Netanyahu, for his part, said then that Israel would continue to counter Iran’s efforts to build up its military presence in the war-torn country.

In a phone call with the prime minister, “Putin stressed the fundamental importance of respecting the sovereignty of Syria, called for refraining from any actions that might further destabilize the situation in this country and pose a threat to its security,” the official Russian Sputnik news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an event marking International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, January 29, 2018. (Vasily Maximov/AFP)

It said the call, which had been at the initiative of the Israeli prime minister, addressed “the Syrian issue… including in connection with the recent missile strikes on the T-4 airfield in Homs by the Israeli Air Force.”

Also on Monday, Netanyahu said that Israel will hit anyone who intends to harm the Jewish state, appearing to indirectly refer to the predawn missile strike on the air base, which reportedly killed 14 people, including seven Iranians.

In line with its policy of ambiguity on attacks outside the country’s borders, Israel has refused to comment directly on the attack, despite being blamed by Russia and Syria. The attack was also confirmed by US officials.

On Thursday, a senior military leader in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly threatened that Tehran will destroy Israel if it doesn’t stop its “childish game.”

“Iran is not Syria. If Israel wants to survive a few more days, it has to stop this childish game,” Ali Shirazi, liaison for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the elite Quds Force, said.

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