Iran is playing with fire in Syria

Wednesday, 14 Feb, 2018

Having Iran in Syria also endangers neighboring Lebanon - the home of Tehran's terror ally, Hezbollah.

Over the weekend, Israel launched an attack on Syria, during which one of its F-16 warplanes was shot down.

The destruction of an Israeli jet by Syrian anti-aircraft fire is indicative of changes in Syria's tactics.

"Now in two places, I can say, well, it just happened to fall out that way". The survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime became dependent on Iran as the Islamic Republic built a strong presence in the country. Iran seems determined to remain there.

Assad is also supported by Russian Federation and Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

Israel, which has struck targets inside Syria more than a 100 times in the course of Syria's war, with raids often launched from neighboring Lebanon's airspace, has been warning of an Iranian buildup in Syria for months, vowing to prevent Tehran from building bases near its border. Iran could very well be setting up shop in Syria as the security situation there turns decidedly from dealing with ISIS to determining who will dominate this strategic Middle Eastern country.

"We are witnessing an extended failure of political action by states to find a solution to this war" and "an increasing internationalisation of the conflict", Grandi said. Israel also lost one of its aircraft during these attacks.

In a tit-for-tat reaction, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi described as "ridiculous" reports that Israel had intercepted and targeted an Iranian drone on Saturday.

The Israeli military has claimed that the Iranian drone that infiltrated their airspace on Saturday morning (February 10) was a copy of RQ-170 Sentinel, a United States aircraft captured by the Islamic Republic in 2011. In addition to the tactical success of downing the Israeli jet, Iran and Syria will use this feat for propaganda.

The drone Iran launched was based off a USA model the Islamic Republic captured during the Obama administration, according to Israeli officials.

Steinitz, a member of Israel's security cabinet, warned in an Army Radio interview that Israel would act against Assad if Iran crosses the red lines that Israel has established. Anyone with a weapon appears to be invited to a horrific conflict that has seen Syrians bombed by almost a dozen different countries - the U.S. military alliance in the east of the country includes Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, France has bombed targets in the country, Russia's air force is in constant action, Turkey has invaded the north, while Israel bombs at will - as well as their own government. Both pilots survived the incident. Israel has been sending messages through all possible channels to Iran, Syria, and Russian Federation that it will not tolerate any kind of Iranian presence and activity along its Syrian border, be it Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) activity or through proxy militias such as Hezbollah. The two sides are edging closer to a cliffhanger faceoff.

Israel's minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, said on Tuesday that Tel Aviv "does accept any limitations" on Syria military offensives. The drone was shot down and eight jets dispatched to wreak revenge, one of which, a US-supplied F-16, was shot down on its way back.

She said further such incidents were likely, but not full-out conflict. "Several people were wounded on both sides but as of now, there are no further casualties".

The ICG's Zalzberg agreed there was little taste for war.