Rising Pressure to Force Iran Out of Syria

Rising Pressure to Force Iran Out of Syria

Saturday, 12 May, 2018 - 05:15
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman waves during a Knesset, or parliament, session in which he was sworn in on May 30, 2016, in Jerusalem. Menahem Kahana / AFP
Moscow - Tel Aviv - Raed Jabr and Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran has come under direct and indirect pressure to withdraw its fighters and factions belonging to the commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, from Syria.

“I have a message for Assad: Get rid of the Iranians, get rid of Qassem Soleimani and the Quds force, they are not helping you, they are only causing damage,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted as saying during a visit to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Friday.

Lieberman hinted that the Israeli army would not stop attacking military positions and airports in Syria unless Iran gets out of the country.

"Their presence will only cause problems and damages. Get rid of the Iranians and we can, perhaps, change our mode of life here," he said.

His remarks came as a military official hoped that Tehran was taught a lesson and therefore, would not participate in any military escalation against Israel.

However, the official said the military and political leaderships in Israel believe there are no absolute guarantees that Iran would get the message.

Meanwhile, Russia on Friday sent a message of reassurance to Israel as part of its efforts to contain the current military escalation between Tel Aviv and Tehran.

Vladimir Kozhin, a top aide to President Vladimir Putin, said his country was not in talks with the Syrian regime about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles and does not think they are needed.

“For now, we’re not talking about any deliveries of new modern (air defense) systems,” Kozhin was cited by Russian newspaper Izvestia as saying when asked about the possibility of supplying Syria with S-300s.

The Russian decision has angered the Syrian regime and its allies.

On Thursday, Israel accused Iran of firing missiles from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Tel Aviv responded with its heaviest air strikes, saying it attacked most of Iran's military infrastructure in the country.

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