Liberman: We will not allow Syria to become an Iranian outpost
Israelâs Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded Wednesday to comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Iranâs presence in Syria was legitimate, warning that the Jewish State maintains freedom of action in Syria and will not allow Iranian entrenchment in the war-torn country.
"We maintain absolute freedom of action and the only considerations that guide us are the security considerations of Israel,â he said at the end of a two-day tour in northern Israel.
âWith regards to Iran, we will simply not allow for Shi'ite consolidation and Iranian entrenchment in Syria nor will we allow Syria to become a forward operating base against the State of Israel. Anyone who has yet to understand that is advised to do so."
Liberman was responding to comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that Iranian presence in Syria was âlegitimate.â Lavrov was quoted by RIA as saying that Russia never promised the United States that Iran and Iranian-backed forces would withdraw from Syria.
As an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Moscow finds itself as part of an alliance between Damascus and Tehran, the patron of Hezbollah. Russia, which views Iran as a key player in resolving the crisis in Syria, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the role that the Islamic Republic plays in the war-torn country.
Liberman visited the northern border Wednesday accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Northern Command Chief Maj.-Gen.Yoel Strick and the commanders of the Bashan and Galilee Division.
On Tuesday Liberman accused the Ministry of Finance of stalling to fund the implementation of a 2014 government decision to increase protection for the Homefront, especially for communitie s in the north, which he said were severely lacking compared to southern Israel.
âWe are dealing with a matter that is ânet lifeââ the defense minister said, urging local authorities to demand that the government implement decisions taken in 2014 to allocate NIS 150 million annually for 10 years in order close the protection gaps throughout the country.
The border area with Lebanon has been flagged by the IDF as vulnerable to enemy infiltrations has seen 9 infiltrations since since 2009, including one in April where a man was able to cross into Israel from Lebanon and walked to the central bus station of Kiryat Shmona, about 10 kilometers from the border fence.
The IDF believes that during the next war with Hezbollah, it will see the terror group try to bring the fight to the home front by infiltrating Israeli communities to inflict significant civilian and military casualties.
The border fence with Lebanon has been upgraded several times since it was origin ally built in the 1980s, including in October when a 29 kilometers stretch was upgraded with engineered barriers, including reinforced concrete panels of several feet high, concrete blocks and fortified watchtowers. The IDF has also created obstacles such as a man-made cliff and high concrete barriers to help prevent any attacks by Hezbollah.
Along with a new six meter high steel and barbed wire âsmart fenceâ stretching several kilometers with information collection centers and warning systems being built along two stretches of the Lebanese border and new fortified shelters including bus stops have been constructed along the Lebanese and Syrian borders.
Source: Google News