Robert Berger – Voice of America
There has been a serious clash between Israel and Iran in Syria.
Israel launched a fierce assault on more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria. The military said the Air Force hit weapons depots, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces, many of them near Damascus.
Missiles also destroyed several Syrian air defense systems after Israeli jets came under heavy fire. All planes returned safely to base.
The Israeli blitz came after Iranian forces fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights, causing little damage but no casualties.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel has a “very clear policy:” He said it will not allow Iran to turn Syria into a forward military base against the Jewish state.
Lieberman said that in response to Iran’s “arrogance,” Israel destroyed almost all of Iran's infrastructure in Syria.
Missile fire over Daraa, Syria, May 10, 2018.
“If we get rain, then they will get a flood,” the defense minister said. Lieberman also said he hopes this round of violence is over.
Nitzan Nuriel, a former counterterrorism chief, says Israel does not want an escalation, so the ball is in the court of Iran.
“They need to decide if they want to increase the friction, or they understand that at this stage they cannot take actions against us, and they need to wait. And if this is the case, that will be the end of this very short and aggressive conflict. We don’t want to carry out more attacks. We wanted to send a message, a very strong message, and I think that we did it,” said Nuriel.
Some observers fear that this clash could signal a new and dangerous phase in Syria's civil war, with two regional powers on a collision course.