Iran’s growing influence in Syria will only worsen the situation and threaten Israel’s security, Ya’alon warned.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel is “very concerned” about the growing Iranian presence and influence in Syria amid the latter country’s five-year-old civil war.
Israel is “very concerned by the strengthening of Iran in Syria, which will lead to a strengthening of the Shi’ite axis, in a negative manner,” Ya’alon said during a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Roberta Pinotti, in Tel Aviv on Monday.
“This could encourage Iran to continue to activate a terror front against us from the Golan Heights. Iran will also continue to invest the money it will receive from sanctions relief in the development and acquisition of new weapons systems, and the building and fortification of terror proxies in the Middle East, Europe, and America, to spread terrorism around the world,” he added.
While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been a close ally of Iran for many years, the ongoing Syrian civil war has allowed Iran to grow its military and economic presence in the country while the Syrian government’s resources have dwindled. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shi’a Lebanese terror group, along with Shi’a Iraqi and Iranian militias, has been fighting alongside the Syrian government for the past few years.
At the same time, Russia’s entrance into the Syrian civil war last year on the side of the Syrian government has allowed Syria, the Iranian-backed militias and Hezbollah to make significant gains in their fight against rebel groups.
A tenuous cease-fire brokered by the US and Russia has been in place in Syria since February 27 as world powers try to end the conflict, but the latest battles in war-ton country indicates that the cease fire will not hold for long.
Speaking on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any peaceful resolution in Syria must guarantee Israel’s security needs, ensuring that Iran does not establish a terror front against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights.
“It must be clear…that any agreement in Syria must include a halt to Iran’s aggression toward Israel from Syrian territory,” he stated.
“We will not agree to the supply of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah from Syria and Lebanon. We will not agree to the creation of a second terror front on the Golan Heights. These are the red lines that we have set and they remain the red lines of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu warned.
Israel has warned in the past it will not tolerate a hostile Iranian presence that would threaten its northern border.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff