US hopes Russia remains 'permissive' of Israel strikes in Syria

Ambassador James Jeffrey (File photo: AFP)
Updated 07 November 2018
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US hopes Russia remains 'permissive' of Israel strikes in Syria

  • Jeffrey said the Trump administration is now focusing on putting financial pressure on Iran
  • Iran enjoys influence in several countries in the region where it backs well-armed militias

BEIRUT: The US envoy to Syria said Wednesday he hoped to see more of Damascus ally Moscow's "permissive approach" to Israeli air strikes on Iranian assets in the war-torn country.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighbouring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets.
It accuses its arch-enemy Tehran, which like Moscow supports the Syrian regime in the seven-year civil conflict, of seeking to entrench itself militarily in the country.
"In the past Russia has been permissive in consultation with the Israelis about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria," US envoy James Jeffrey said.
"We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue," he told journalists in a conference call.
His comments came after Syrian regime forces accidentally downed a Russian plane during an Israeli air strike over Syria in September.
Moscow blamed the incident, which killed 15 Russians, on the Israeli plane using the larger Russian one for cover, which Israel disputed.
Following the incident, Russia sent advanced air defence missiles to Damascus.
But Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month told Russia his country must continue to hit hostile targets in Syria to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence across the border.
"We understand the existential interest and we support Israel," Jeffrey said.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States has withdrawn from a landmark deal with Iran over its nuclear programme and reimposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic republic.
President Bashar al-Assad's forces have regained large swathes of Syria from rebels and jihadists since 2015.
In October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a pro-Israel group Washington would refuse any post-war reconstruction assistance to Syria if Iran was present.
Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions more since starting in 2011.


Israeli tank, aircraft hit Gaza after cross-border shots: army

Updated 19 April 2019
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Israeli tank, aircraft hit Gaza after cross-border shots: army

JERUSALEM: Israel on Friday struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip with tank and aircraft fire after shots were fired at troops on the Israeli side of the border, the army said.
“No injuries to soldiers were reported,” it said in a statement.
Palestinian security sources in Hamas-ruled Gaza told AFP that the Israeli fire hit Hamas military observation posts at three locations along the frontier.
They said there were no reports of Palestinian casualties.
Palestinians in Gaza have for more than a year gathered at least weekly along the border for often-violent protests, calling on Israel to end its blockade of the enclave.
The Israeli statement did not say if there were mass protests taking place at the time of Friday’s incident.
At least 264 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests began.
The majority were killed during clashes, with others hit by tank fire or air strikes.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.