Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Israel will get heavily involved in the Syrian civil war if Iran is allowed to build bases in the country.
The message – conveyed via backchannels and reported by veteran Channel 2 reporter and Middle East analyst Ehud Yaari – warns Assad that Israel will not allow Iranian naval or air bases in Syria, nor will it allow Iranian arms factories.
Yaari said Assad had been warned of the consequences if the Syrian government “invites Iranian forces to establish themselves in Syria via an agreement of any kind”.
Iranian forces have fought alongside Syrian and Russian soldiers as well as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in country’s civil war. The effort has paid off, with Assad retaining power and rewarding allies.
Israel, which has until now maintained a policy of non-intervention, worries that Assad’s victory and the defeat of ISIS means that Syria is now a conduit through which Iran can supply Hezbollah.
Several aerial sorties over Syria, often flown at night and believed to be targeting arms depots or convoys carrying missiles, have been attributed to Israel, which maintains that Iranian bases just north of Israel’s border would be a red line crossed.