Forty-two killed in Israeli airstrikes, including 19 Iranians, reports Syrian watchdog

Erika Holt
May 13, 2018

Though Iran has been feverishly building military installations facing the Israeli border, Iranian forces in Syria are no match for Israel, as the Israeli strikes have demonstrated.

Iran is attempting to "create an axis from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea" to "surround us and create a war of attrition", the ex-Israeli army chief said.

As attacks from Israel have increased, Iran has threatened retaliation, especially after seven of its troops were killed in April by an Israeli airstrike.

Iran says Israel's repeated attacks are based on "fabricated" reasons.

"Iranian military advisers and units controlled by them are dispersed in positions on the frontlines, numerous strong points, Syrian military bases and so on", says the expert.

The reported Iranian attack on Israeli positions in the Golan and Israel's bombardment of suspected Iranian posts in Syria appeared to be warnings by each side that it is willing to respond - but not necessarily that they want to plunge into war.

Also, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Friday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to expel Iranian forces from Syria.

"At least 27 pro-regime fighters were killed" in Thursday's strikes, director of the Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Golan Heights are Syrian territory occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

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U.N. Secretary-General Guterres is urging an immediate halt to "all hostile acts" to avoid "a new conflagration" in the Middle East after Israeli forces bombed Iranian targets inside Syria. Instead, Israel has fought Iran's ally, Hezbollah, the last time in a 2006 war that saw massive destruction in southern Lebanon and concentrated rocket fire on Israeli cities.

"Iran strongly condemns. [Israel's] attacks on Syria".

Just one hour after Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, Israel reportedly fired a missile near the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing 15 - at least eight of them Iranians.

The Security Council, deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and as of Friday morning no council member has asked for a meeting. Israel fears that will allow Iran to more easily transfer weapons to Hezbollah, Lebanon's powerful Shiite guerrilla force, and reinforce the militant group's influence over the region.

It added that 28 Israeli fighter jets launched at least 60 missiles in Syria.

Israel says it has conducted dozens of operations in Syria to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to one of its main foes, Iran-backed Hezbollah. Now, with President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from it, Netanyahu may be emboldened to pursue his confrontation with Iran.

"The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", the hard-line cleric said during Friday sermons.

After Trump announced the US withdrawal from the deal on Tuesday, Rouhani warned that Iran would resume uranium enrichment at an even higher rate if the accord collapses.

Ghasemi, the foreign ministry spokesman, said the direct attacks on Syria come as the government of Assad is regaining control of territories from rebel fighters, accusing Israel and the United States of supporting the opposition which he called "terrorists".

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