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    Israeli Air Force F-15 jet. (File)

    Israeli Airstrikes on Syria 'Seek to Prevent Iran's Influence in Region'

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    The airstrikes, recently conducted by the Israeli Air Force on Syrian territory, are supposed to make it clear that Tel-Aviv won't allow Tehran to strengthen its positions in the region, Austrian Der Standard newspaper reported.

    Israeli airstrikes have targeted Syria since 2012. In this way, the Israeli authorities seek to prevent Hezbollah — a Shiite militant group and political party based in Lebanon, which currently fights on the side of the Syrian government — from developing advanced weapons and transporting them to Lebanon.

    "The Israeli military strike on Friday night was nothing exceptional in itself. But the time and the progress raise certain questions," the newspaper wrote.

    This time, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad responded to the attack with Russian-made ground-to-air missiles, leading to an escalation of the situation.

    However, the newspaper believes that Assad wouldn't want to force his country into a new devastating conflict.

    The newspaper assumes that Israeli actions could be a signal to Russia, which plays a major role in the Syrian crisis. According to the author, Israel could have sent a signal to Moscow that, "despite all its love for Putin," it won't tolerate the presence of Iran and its allies in Syria.

    On Friday, Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed the attacks saying that it targeted a convoy which was supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

    On the same day, the Syrian Army command said in a statement that it had downed one of four Israeli Air Force jets that violated its airspace and purportedly targeted Syrian units near Palmyra.

    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in turn, said on Friday that it used the advanced Arrow missile defense system to shoot down a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was fired at an Israeli jet.

    "We have no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war, we are neither for nor against (President Bashar) Assad, and we have no interest in clashing with the Russians," Defense Minister Lieberman said on Sunday.

    "Our main problem is with the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon. That is why every time we identify an attempt to smuggle game-changing weapons, we will act to thwart it. There will be no compromise on this issue," he added.

    Following the incident, Moscow summoned Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren to inquire about airstrikes on Syrian troops near Palmyra, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Monday.

    Related:

    Israel Seeks to Ban Arms Smuggling From Syria to Hezbollah Movement
    Syrian Opposition Group Asks Israel to Help Topple Assad
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    airstrikes, Iran, Israel, Syria
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