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Assad: Israeli strikes directed at Syria, not Iran

During a visit to the Golan, Netanyahu reiterates that the Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.

Syrian President Bashar Assad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Syrian President Bashar Assad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In a rare interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Sky News Arabia on Wednesday that Iran was only a pretext for Israel’s strikes in Syria.

“The truth is that the Syrian army is mainly targeted under the title of the Iranian presence, and it will continue as long as Israel is an enemy” of Syria said Assad, according to a translation of the interview provided by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

The Syrian dictator went on to state that the Israeli attacks were designed to support terror groups fighting against the regime.

The strikes “will continue as long as we are able to thwart the terrorists’ plans, even partially, because these strikes began when the Syrian army began to achieve victories in the battles it is engaged in, and we take into account that we have not finished from the war yet,” he said.

Israel has reportedly struck hundreds of targets in Syria in recent years as part of an effort to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in the country. However, it rarely acknowledges these incidents.

In the most recent incident, four Syrian soldiers were killed and four others wounded in an Israeli missile strike near Damascus early on Monday, according to SANA.

The news agency cited a military official as saying that the attack occurred at 2:20 a.m. and came from the direction of the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu reiterates Golan will remain Israel’s forever

Separately on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visited Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights Observation Point.

During the visit, the couple met with IDF Nahal Brigade soldiers serving there for a brief conversation over coffee.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, with Israeli troops stationed in the Golan Heights. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.

“This stirs up a lot of emotions in me—first of all nostalgia. As a soldier and commander, I was here a lot many years ago, on many operations, mainly in the snow,” said Netanyahu.

“It is pleasant to be here in the sunshine and see the wonderful development of the Golan Heights, which we all have worked on, to see our soldiers, who gave me some coffee, and really to know that we are walking on land that will be under Israeli sovereignty forever.

“This was not self-evident a few decades ago when I served here. Today it is understood by everyone—and this is important. Additionally, I like to show my wife that I was young once and jumped on the hilltops,” he added.

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