Russia And Israel Add To Syria Tensions

Syria’s T-4 airfield

Syria’s T-4 airfield

A member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's security cabinet and Israeli strategic affairs experts voiced doubt that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, embroiled in a protracted civil war, would risk direct conflict with Israel.

Israel and Russian Federation have held routine coordination talks since Russian Federation started to send forces to fight along Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army in the war-torn country.

Israel most recently attacked Syria Sunday, pounding an airbase in Homs.

Israeli officials have repeatedly warned that Israel would not allow Iran to gain a military stronghold in Syria, Israel's northern neighbor.

"The Iranians are determined to base themselves in Syria", he told the Army Radio station. At the same time, Israel responded by emphasizing its determination to hinder Iranian military presence in Syria.

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Syrian state media SANA reported "several missiles" had hit the T-4 base in central Syria just before dawn on Monday.

The Syrian government strongly denied it carried out a chemical weapons attack and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said it has opened an investigation.

"There are two colliding trends, the first being that Iran is growing bolder as highlighted by the sending of a drone to Israel in February", said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at Le Beck International, a Middle East-based geopolitical and security consultancy.

"By striking the base once again, Israel sends the message that Russia simply can not ignore this trend, both because of the risks it implies, and because Russian and Iranian soldiers are physically working a few feet away from each other", he said. "They have militias in Syria and in Lebanon which they control and they have Iranian military forces in Syria that can be used".

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