01:37 GMT19 June 2021
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    Leaked video from a meeting between Israel’s head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Tamir Hyman, and a number of foreign security ministers shows him warning them that Iran’s presence in Syria isn’t meant to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s battle against terrorists, but instead to threaten Israel.

    Hyman showed the crowd of foreign security officials a map of suspected Iranian bases in Syria. The leaked video wasn't of a high-enough quality to pick it up, but it "showed them spread throughout the country," according to the Times of Israel. The video was shot apparently in secret at a homeland security conference held in Jerusalem by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan during the week of June 11.

    ​"You probably think it's because they are trying to help the Assad regime fight extremists, fight terror. Well, get ready for a surprise: In all these places on the map there has been no fighting going on for half a month," Hyman said while showcasing the map.

    He said Iran is "trying to increase that effort… of ability and capability to launch rockets from there and to establish cells of their own that can penetrate Israel and harm the villages in the Golan Heights."

    The Golan Heights in Syria have been illegally occupied by the Israeli government the 1967 Six Day War. There, villagers have complained to Western media, Israel is materially supporting the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as al-Qaeda in Syria. Israel, for its part, has admitted to medically treating anti-government fighters in the region. 

    Hyman was appointed to the position of chief of Military Intelligence in March. At the conference, he noted that Assad's triumph in the war in Syria is largely secured. "There is no real threat to Assad, so why do [the Iranians] stay there?" he asked. "If they had wanted to assist the regime," Hyman said, Assad could at this point have told them "thanks and goodbye."

    "The fact that [Iranians] succeeded on (sic) launching rockets to Israel, [causing] us to open shelters, created, in their eyes, a huge success, although it was total failure operationally," Hyman said.

    He was referring to the firing of projectiles on May 9 toward Israel from Syria, which set off Israeli sirens in the Golan Heights. Some were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. While Israel had been striking positions in Syria since the day prior, beginning one hour after US President Donald Trump announced that he would pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, Israel responded to the attack by striking a number of positions in Syria on May 10.

    ​Israel blamed Iran for the rocket fire. "Launches of about 20 missiles were registered at around midnight toward the frontier positions in the Golan Heights by Iran's al-Quds forces," an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman told reporters. 

    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that Israel had, in response, struck "nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria."

    That was disputed by Syrian journalist Fady Marouf, who told Sputnik Mundo May 11 that "The pretext [for the bombings] was to allegedly strike Iranian bases. But there are no Iranian bases in Syria. We have Iranian military advisers who help the Syrian army fight terrorist groups. That's why only Syrian soldiers were killed and wounded."

    Assad also refuted the claim in an interview with RT International published May 31. "The starkest fact about [Israel's] lies about this issue, the Iranian issue, that the recent attack a few weeks ago — they said that they attacked Iranian bases and camps… Actually, we had tens of Syrian martyrs and wounded soldiers, not a single Iranian," Assad said. "So, how could they say that we have it? So, it is a lie."


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    Israel, Syria, Iran, Syrian war, Golan Heights, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Syrian Arab Army, Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Syria, Israel, Golan Heights
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