From Damascus, Iran vows to confront Israel

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2017 5:13 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran's military chief said on a visit to Damascus on Wednesday that it was unacceptable for Israel to violate Syrian air space and land "any time it wants", Iranian state media reported.

General Mohammad Baqeri also said he was in the Syrian capital to strengthen cooperation with the Syrian army to "confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists," referring to Israel and Sunni Muslim militants in Syria.

Since at least 2012, Shi'ite Muslim Iran has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helping his army regain swathes of the country from rebels and Sunni militants.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has played a major role in support of Assad.

Israel says it has hit arms convoys of the Syrian military and Hezbollah nearly 100 times in the past five years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran is strengthening its foothold in Syria, and Israel was watching developments and would act against any threat.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis and Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Tom Perry/Mark Heinrich)