“The consequences are not merely to the Iranian forces there, but to the Assad regime as well,” Netanyahu said in a warning to Syria.
Addressing the Policy Exchange think tank in London on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Assad regime is no longer immune from Israeli retaliation.
“He is no longer immune, his regime is no longer immune. If he fires at us, we will destroy his forces,” Netanyahu stated.
The prime minister was referring to the presence of Iranian military bases in Syria, which Israel has said repeatedly that it will not tolerate.
“I think there is a new calculus that has to take place, and Syria has to understand that Israel will not tolerate the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria against Israel,” Netanyahu asserted.
Iran, operating from Syria, attacked Israel directly on May 10 for the first time in history. The Israel Air Force responded by bombing dozens of Iranian targets in Syria, the largest such operation in decades.
“Assad has to consider this: When they waged this horrific civil war, Israel did not intervene. Now the war is nearly over, he invites Iran in to entrench itself?” Netanyahu said.
Russian news outlets recently reported that Moscow wants to cut a deal that would see Russian military police deployed to areas near Israel. The agreement would envisage the pullout of all Iranian forces from the area and require Syrian rebels to surrender heavy weapons.
Netanyahu was in London on the third day of a European tour aimed at drawing support for continued pressure on Iran against its nuclear program.
“The consequences are not merely to the Iranian forces there, but to the Assad regime as well,” Netanyahu told his London audience, adding, “I think it’s something that he should consider very seriously.”
Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has refrained from becoming involved.