01:20 GMT28 October 2020
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    Israel has carried out airstrikes on Iranian targets in the vicinity of the Syrian capital Damascus. The Israeli Defence Forces confirmed the military operation in a tweet earlier this morning.

    Sputnik has discussed the development with Dr Taleb Ibrahim, a Syrian political analyst and deputy director of the Damascus Centre for Strategic Studies.

    Sputnik: What has contributed to the escalation of tensions between Israel and Syria now? 

    What is believed to be guided missiles are seen in the sky during what is reported to be an attack in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media
    © REUTERS / Facebook Diary of a Mortar Shell in Damascus/Youmiyat Qadifat Hawun fi Damashq
    Dr Taleb Ibrahim: I think this is very bad news and Israel now is attacking Syria from time to time and they justify their attacks by saying that they're not targeting the Syrian Army or Syrian government, they are attacking only Iranians. Now, about the timing, I think this is related to some internal Israeli issues. As you know, a few months later there will be new elections inside Israel and, of course, Benjamin Netanyahu needs those attacks to raise his popularity inside Israel; and I think this is very much important for Netanyahu to make other narrative for the Israeli public to forget the great scandals about his corruption and corruption of his wife.

    Sputnik: Now, unlike previous instances, Israel owned up publicly to what it was doing, what's your take on that why is this so?

    Dr Taleb Ibrahim: Yes, Israelis want to tell Americans that if you withdraw from Syria we are ready. Israelis are ready to work alone against Iranians, and the other message is for Russia. If the Russians are unable to prevent Iranians from staying in Syria, as Israelis say, and this is not true in any way. If Russia is unable to implement any more pressure on the government of Syria and on Iran, Israel is able to do what Israel wants.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu Says Israel to Continue Withstanding 'Iran's Aggression' in Syria

    The other issue is that the Israelis attacks stopped for a long time after the shootdown of the Russian airplane and now Israel is resuming its activity in a very active and unprecedented way.

    Sputnik: How justified is it firing rockets at another foreign country? Israel's maintaining its hitting Iranian targets in Syria, what's your take on that?

    Dr Taleb Ibrahim: I don't think there are any real Iranian targets in Syria. Yes, there are some Iranians who are working in Syria as experts to help the Syrian Army in fighting terrorism. And Israel is the main ally and the main supporter of terrorism inside Syria. All of us remember that Israel shot down many Syrian airplanes while those airplanes were attacking terrorists and they were not attacking Israel in any way and I don't think that anyone here in Damascus is thinking about attacking Israel or going for a very big battle or for a regional confrontation because Syria now has a lot of problems inside and etc. But the Israelis say that they are attacking Iranians, this is not the truth.

    As I told you, the total number of Iranian experts inside Syria is about 3,000. That's in the whole Syrian territory. So this is not a very good justification to launch a war. I think that Israel wants to send a political message.

    They want to participate in the Syrian settlement, the Syrian political settlement and they're ready to say to the other Arabs that we are fighting Iranians that we and other Arabs are in one alliance against Iran, etc.

    And this is a very bad game of Israelis, but anyhow, they are attacking Syrian territories and Syrian targets, and I think Syria has the right to ask the Iranians to come for help or to ask the Russian to come to help or to ask any other party to come for help. This is a sovereign state and Israel has nothing to do with that; but Israel now I think is looking for a very big confrontation in the Middle East and they have their own reasons.

    Sputnik: So far we understand that there's been no condemnation of the Israeli attacks by the West, this comes at the same time as the statement from the US president that they were releasing their troops from the area, is there any correlation between the two, what's your thoughts?

    Dr Taleb Ibrahim: I think that Israel is not accountable and no one can ask Israel what you're doing because they're enjoying blind American support in everything and at the same time the Russians do not want more and more escalation. So I think Israelis are working freely in the Middle East and no one can stop them, until now. Of course, Russia tried to do a lot of things to prevent Israel from doing more and more attacks and Russia does not need any war inside Syria.

    READ MORE: IDF Chief Says Israel Struck Syria Without 'Asking for Credit' — Reports

    They want to calm down the situation in Syria and establish security and peace in Syria; and they're not looking for war but the Israelis are looking for war. They want to destroy Syria and they want to implement their own agenda.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr Taleb Ibrahim and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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