'Assad safe from Israel if Iran removed from Syria,' Netanyahu tells Putin

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 12, 2018

His remarks could foreshadow a more open approach to Assad ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Syria talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

"Any Syrian soldier found in the buffer zone is endangering his life, " Lieberman said while touring the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

The IDF's top spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said that "the IDF will not allow violation of Israeli airspace and will act against any attempt to harm its citizens".

There were no reports of injuries or damage over the drone's incursion.

The plateau is not recognised internationally as Israeli territory.

Asked by a reporter if he anticipated a time when the Quneitra crossing would be reopened under the UN-monitored armistice between Israel and Syria, and whether the two old enemies could establish "some kind of relationship", Lieberman said: "I reckon we are a long way from that, but we are not ruling out anything".

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The drone was an intelligence-gathering aircraft and belonged to the Syrian government and its remains have already been retrieved just south of the Sea of Galilee, nearly ten kilometers (six miles) inside Israel, an army spokesman told reporters. It had also flown over Jordan, he said.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it had shot down a drone from Syria that had entered its airspace. It bombed Iranian targets in Syria in response to that incident. In exchange, Putin will expel the Iranians and their supporters from Syria, thus granting Netanyahu a historic victory.

Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria but it has carried out dozens of airstrikes on alleged arms shipments bound for the militant group Hezbollah.

Israel is especially concerned about Iran's military presence in Syria.

That the drone was able to travel approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) into Israel before being shot down raised questions about the military's preparedness and ability to locate and intercept incoming aircraft.

He said the incursion threatened "the safety and security of Israel's northern cities and towns" and added that Israel has "repeatedly warned the Security Council of the destabilizing activities taking place in Syria and the threats they pose to Israel and the Middle East".

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