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    Syrian men walk past a poster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus, on February 27, 2016, as the first major ceasefire of the five-year war takes hold and an international task force prepares to begin monitoring the landmark truce

    Netanyahu: Assad 'No Longer Immune', Israel to Destroy Syrian Forces if Attacked

    © AFP 2018 / LOUAI BESHARA
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has concluded his diplomatic tour around Europe, where he held talks with the leaders of France, Germany and the UK on the Iranian nuclear deal and the situation in Syria.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was "no longer immune."

    "If he fires at us, we will destroy his forces… There is a new calculus that has to take place," Netanyahu added.

    The statement comes as the prime minister wraps up his diplomatic trip to Europe, with his only goal during this voyage being, reportedly by his own admission, "to bring an international agreement that Iran would leave Syria."

    Israel and Syria have been repeatedly engaged in tit-for-tat attacks in bordering areas, including the disputed Golan Heights, a region, which was had been captured by the Jewish state as a result of the 1967 Six Day War and formally annexed 14 years later. The move has been criticized by the international community, with the UNSC passing a resolution, condemning Tel Aviv's move as "null and void and without international legal effect." Despite that, however, the Israeli authorities have refused to give the territory back to Syria, with Netanyahu stating earlier that this "would never happen."

    In the most recent escalation of tensions, the Israeli Air Force hit dozens of what it described as Iranian targets in Syria after 20 rockets had been fired at the IDF positions in Golan Heights in May. Damascus stated that Syria would counter all the attacks by the Israeli forces on its sovereign territory and will not hesitate to strike Israeli military targets as it has a right for self-defense.

    The Prime Minister underlined that he highly appreciated the "deconfliction" agreements with Moscow, which have already allowed the forces of the two countries to avoid clashes in the Syrian sky for three years, and expressed the hope that in the future these mutual understandings will continue.

    European Powers Set on Driving Iran From Syria — Reports

    Earlier in the day, The Times of Israel reported, citing a senior diplomatic official that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May had allegedly reached a “widespread agreement” about the need to completely remove what was described as the Iranian military presence from Syria.

    "My point was to harness the leading European countries to oppose the continued expansion of Iran," the newspaper quoted Netanyahu as saying.

    The official added that Netanyahu also sought to persuade European leaders to follow the example of US President Donald Trump and to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, though Prime Minister May had reportedly declined this proposal.

    When asked Netanyahu whether this meant that Russians were turning a blind eye to the actions of Israeli troops in Syria, he stated that Moscow was aware of Tel Aviv's actions.

    "I'm not sure that we are talking about the blind eye. I think they perfectly see what we are doing," Netanyahu replied.

    READ MORE: Under Crown Prince’s Rule, Saudi-US-Israel United by Anti-Iran Interests

    Tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran have been increasing of late as Tel Aviv repeatedly accused Tehran of building up its military presence in Syria, and carried out a series of airstrikes against alleged Iranian assets in the Middle Eastern country.

    Syrian President Bashar Assad, however, dismissed these allegations, pointing out that while there are Iranian military officers who assist the Syrian Arab Army as advisers, there are no Iranian troops in Syria.

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    'It'll Be Problematic for Israel, US if Europe Adheres to Iran Accord' - Analyst
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    military presence, allegations, agreement, opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May, Germany, Iran, Israel, United Kingdom, France
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