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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a forum hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington November 10, 2015

    Netanyahu: Israel Won't Attack Syria if Existing Agreements are Upheld

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    The comment comes in the wake of an overnight attack against Syrian military facilities and the Israeli prime minister's visit to Moscow on Wednesday, where he discussed Middle East issues with Russian President Putin.

    On Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel did not have any problems with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and would not intervene in the country if the existing agreements are upheld, according to Haaretz.

    “I have set a clear policy that we do not intervene and we have not intervened. This has not changed. What has troubled us is ISIS* [Daesh] and Hezbollah and this has not changed. The heart of the matter is preserving our freedom of action against anyone who acts against us. Second, the removal of the Iranians from Syrian territory,” he said to reporters.

    Hours before the remarks were made, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that they had fired missiles into Syria’s southwestern Quneitra province in "response to an intrusion by a Syrian UAV that was intercepted earlier on Wednesday." 

    The confrontation came amid Netanyahu's visit to Moscow. A high-ranking Israeli official has quoted Benjamin Netanyahu as saying, during Wednesday's talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Israel "won't take action against the Assad regime," according to Reuters. 

    At the same time, Netanyahu reportedly underlined that Moscow should encourage Iranian forces allegedly in Syria to leave the war-torn country. 

    On Tuesday, when asked whether the two countries would be able to establish "some kind of relationship," Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated, "I reckon we are a long way from that, but we are not ruling out anything."

    On May 10, the Israeli Air Force launched missile strikes on dozens of suspected Iranian targets in the country after a rocket attack on IDF positions in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights allegedly staged by pro-Iranian forces. 

    READ MORE: Israel Launches 'Surprise' Military Exercise in Golan Heights – Defense Forces

    Damascus condemned the attacks and called them a violation of its airspace and sovereignty, with Iran also pledging to respond to "Israeli aggression." 

    Tel Aviv, in turn, accuses Tehran of building up a military presence in Syria as a springboard to attack Israel. Syria and Iran have denied the claim, stating that Iran's presence is limited to military advisers assisting in the fight against Islamist terrorists.

    The Golan Heights were captured and then occupied by Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War, in a move that was recognized neither by the international community nor the UN Security Council.

    Israel and Syria still remain officially at war as a result of this conflict and a lack of formal bilateral diplomatic relations.

    Golan Heights. File photo
    © AFP 2018 / JALAA MAREY
    Golan Heights. File photo

    * Daesh (aka IS, ISIL, ISIS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

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    Benjamin Netanyahu, Bashar al-Assad, Israel, Syria
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