Retired Syrian Major General Yahya Suleiman said he thought Tuesday's attacks were carried out in the interests of Israel's US allies, which had "expressed concerns" about the Syrian Army operation to liberate the province of Idlib from a motley mix of militants, including jihadist extremists.
"This was not the first strike of this kind," Suleiman told Sputnik Arabic. "Every time the army prepares an operation against the armed groups, Israel attacks. The last time this took place was ahead of the army's offensive in the country's south," he recalled.
"Based on the information at my disposal and using simple logic, I am telling you that there are no Iranian military forces on the territory of the Syrian Republic, only unarmed military advisers," he said. "This is normal practice, given the cooperation agreements which exist between our two countries. The Iranians are not fighting in Syria, they are helping us. If there were Iranian military units in Syria, we would have declared this to be the case. After all, there is nothing objectionable about this," he added.
Israel and Syria have formally remained in a state of war since 1973. However, direct clashes have remained rare until the start of the foreign-backed civil war in the Arab Republic. This week, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz admitted that Israel had attacked targets in Syria over 200 times in recent years.
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The views expressed by Major General (ret.) Yahya Suleiman are those of the observer and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.