ANALYSIS: Turkey announces war on pro-Assad coalition in Syria

February death toll in Syria the highest in nearly 2 years as Erdogan all but declares war on Assad’s forces.

Yochanan Visser, 01/03/20 22:42

Tulsi Gabbard, one the Democratic Party’s hopefuls in the race for the Presidency of the United States called him “one of the most dangerous dictators in the world”.

Gabbard was talking about Turkey’s autocratic leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan who’s just declared war on the regime of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad after the latter’s forces killed 34 Turkish soldiers in the northern Syrian Province Idlib.

US President Donald J. Trump “needs to make it clear to NATO and Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war with Russia by the aggressive, Islamist, expansionist dictator of Turkey, a so-called “NATO” ally,” Gabbard wrote on her Twitter account.

The 33 Turkish soldiers who died as a result of an airstrike by Assad’s air force caused Erdogan to lose his cool once again and prompted operation “Spring Shield” after the Turkish army had already lost 55 soldiers to fighting in Syria since the beginning of February.

The new Turkish offensive in Syria and the aggressive moves by the pro-Assad coalition which is trying to re-conquer the last major rebel hub in Idlib have created an unprecedented humanitarian disaster even by Syrian standards.

The violence has driven more than one million Syrians from their homes while hundreds, including many children and women, died in February.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 1,773 individuals were killed in February across the war-torn nation; most of them in the Idlib province. It was the highest single month death toll over the last 23 months of fighting.

The pro-Assad coalition also ‘took out’ 73 hospitals in Idlib by bombing them to smithereens in an old tactic to deprive the mostly Islamist rebels of medical assistance in case they got wounded.

Turkey first tried to stop the advances of the pro-Assad coalition in Idlib by using its local Syrian allies – all of them Islamist rebel groups – but this didn’t have a major impact on the battlefield.

After the Turkish axis seemed to be on the brink of defeat, Erdogan realized he would have to come up with a more powerful military move without risking a major confrontation with Assad’s patron Russia.

The Turkish regime now says it “doesn’t want a face-off with Russia” and that “Our only aim is to stop the Syrian regime’s massacres, radicalization and, migration.”

During the new operation Erdogan’s air force claims to have attacked 200 Syrian targets while his ground forces reportedly “neutralized” 2,200 targets belonging to the pro-Assad coalition which is a predominantly Iranian-Shiite fighting force.

“Some 2,200 Syrian regime troops, a drone, 8 helicopters, 103 tanks, tens of howitzers, 3 air defense systems were neutralized during the operation Spring Shield,” Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

Among those ‘neutralized’ were at least “21 Iranian-affiliated terrorists” according to Turkish state-controlled media while 9 members of Lebanese Hezbollah were also killed.

On Monday afternoon, Turkey’s military downed two Syrian warplanes over Idlib after Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Assad’s forces had downed a number of Turkish drones.

Earlier, Erdogan demanded that NATO, of which Turkey is still a member despite closing military deals with Russia, interfere in the escalating conflict on behalf of his country.

“We call on NATO to (start) consultations. This is not (an attack) on Turkey only, it is an attack on the international community. A common reaction is needed. The attack was also against NATO,” one of Erdogan’s spokesmen told media outlets.

After this call upon NATO apparently fell on deaf ears, the Turkish regime demanded that Russia “get out of Turkey’s way” and leave it “face to face” with the Assad regime.

When that didn’t help either, after the Kremlin pointed out to Turkey that Russian forces are there legally since Assad invited them, Erdogan reverted to other means of exerting pressure on Russia and arrested the editor-in-chief and two reporters of the Russian news site Sputnik.

The Russians subsequently responded by demanding that the detention of the three journalists be resolved “without further delay” and that Ankara safeguard the security of Russian journalists in the country.

The crisis between Russia and Turkey further exacerbated on Monday afternoon when the Turkish army shelled the headquarters of the Russian army command near the border town of Manbij which is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Putin and Erdogan discussed the crisis over the telephone without reaching a solution. The two leaders are expected to meet in Moscow on March 5.

Turkey also upped the pressure on the European Union which Erdogan expects to choose sides with his country in the escalating conflict in Syria and finally made good on his threat to deport Syrian refugees to Europe.

According to the state-controlled Anadolu News Agency almost 81,000 of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey “voluntarily” traveled to the borders with Greece and other European countries over the past few days.

Reporters belonging to non-Turkish media, however, reported that the refugees were being transferred to the border on government chartered buses.

Most of the refugees are stuck on the border with Greece that refuses to let them in and that shot with tear gas on those who nevertheless attempted to make the crossing.

Greece together with Cyprus has now requested an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the refugee crisis.

To futher complicate matters, Iran is now reportedly also threatening Turkey and warned the Erdogan regime to leave Syria or have its troops face a missile barrage.

The Islamic Republic’s proxies are, in fact, the ones conducting the ground offensive against the Turkey-backed rebels in Idlib on behalf of Assad. (Click to Source)

 

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Turkish military shoots down 2 Syrian jets as Syria fends off Turkey’s drone attack

1 Mar, 2020 13:41 / Updated 1 hour ago

Turkey has shot down two Syrian warplanes in Idlib as part of its offensive in the area. The Syrian Army destroyed several Turkish drones on the same day Turkey’s UAVs penetrated Syria’s airspace well beyond Idlib.

Turkish fighter jets intercepted two Syrian warplanes over Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib and shot them down, the state-run SANA news outlet reported, adding that both planes’ crews ejected and parachuted to safety.

The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed it shot down two Syrian Su-24 bombers after one of its combat drones was destroyed by Syrian air defenses. SANA reported that several Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) violated Syrian airspace and were spotted not just in Idlib but near the city of Hama as well. There, air defense systems were engaged to deal with the hostile invasion.

According to SANA, the Syrian military shot down a total of three Turkish drones on Sunday. Meanwhile, some reports suggested that as many as six UAVs were destroyed. SANA posted a video of one Turkish UAV being brought down near the town of Saraqib, east of Idlib.

A military source told the outlet that the Syrian Army closed the airspace in the northwestern part of the country, including Idlib Province, and that any aircraft entering Syrian skies will be considered a hostile target.

Ankara launched Operation Spring Shield in Idlib on Sunday, describing its task as “self-defense” against the attacks by Syrian government troops on Turkish soldiers maintaining outposts in the area.

Tensions in Idlib flared-up again this week after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian airstrike. Russia said it happened because the Turkish personnel were present alongside terrorist units being bombed by Damascus, and Ankara had failed to properly notify Moscow about its troop movements.

Idlib is the last-remaining stronghold of anti-government forces in Syria, with many belonging to jihadist groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an offshoot of Al-Qaeda. Ankara has long promised to separate the moderate groups it backs from the more radical elements, but Russia insists it has failed to do so. (Click to Source)

 

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Damascus To Become A “Ruinous Heap”?: Syria Threatens To Attack The Golan Heights And Israel Prepares For War

The winds of war are blowing once again, and it isn’t going to take much to spark a major conflict in the Middle East.  This week is the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria, and after the nightmare that the people of Syria have been through, you would think that the Assad regime would be eager for peace.  But instead, Assad appears to be ready to go for broke.  If Syria can spark a Middle East war that results in the complete destruction of Israel, Assad would be remembered as a hero in the Islamic world forever.  Instead of a legacy of civil war and crushing poverty, Assad’s legacy would be one of wartime leader that brought total victory over Syria’s most hated enemy.  But of course such a conflict would be a huge risk, because if it went badly the city of Damascus would be completely flattened and the nation of Syria as we know it today would be entirely destroyed.  And considering how overwhelmingly powerful the Israeli military is, it would seem to be a very foolish risk to take.  Unfortunately, Assad does not appear to be thinking rationally.  On Thursday, Syria officially threatened “to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights”.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…

Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported on Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund, in what seemed to be an attempt to prevent official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Of course Israel is never going to leave the Golan Heights.  We all know how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels, and on Monday his main opposition in the upcoming election expressed similar sentiments…

Blue and White party politicians Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon visited the Golan Heights on Monday and vowed never to give it up.

“We will increase the numbers of residents in the Golan, sending a resounding message to all – we will never relinquish the Golan Heights,” Gantz said.

Let us hope that Syria is bluffing, because if Syria attacks the Golan Heights it will start a war.

And it is a war that Syria could not possibly hope to win on their own.  But Assad doesn’t plan to take on Israel by himself.

Over the last several months, Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian forces inside Syria.  The Iranians have been fighting on Assad’s side in the Syrian civil war, and the Israelis are afraid that when everything is all said and done that the nation of Syria will end up being totally dominated by Iran.  The following comes from Haaretz…

For Iran, its domination of Syria is key to achieving its long-standing dream of a “Shiite crescent,” extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean and of establishing a permanent ground, air and naval presence on Israel’s border. Iran’s ability to do so has been impeded to date only by the small and dwindling U.S. force in eastern Syria and hundreds of Israeli airstrikes that have, so far, successfully thwarted Iran’s efforts.

Although Israel has become a powerful and essentially secure state, capable of demonstrating restraint in the face of the many challenges it faces, this would constitute a dire and unacceptable change in the balance of power, one that Israel cannot tolerate and must prevent – even at the expense of war.

The Iranians have stated that they are no longer going to tolerate Israeli airstrikes, and their military leadership is fully ready to go to war.  If war does erupt between Israel and Syria, it seems very unlikely that Iran would stay out of it.

And without a doubt, Iranian targets would be among the first to get hit in a war between Israel and Syria, and the Netanyahu administration has been very clear that Israel is preparing for a war with Iran…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu startled Iranians and even the White House on Wednesday with a strident call for Israeli-Arab action against the government in Tehran that was translated by his office as urging “war with Iran.”

Although Israeli officials tried to soften the reference by altering the English translation, the provocative comment was likely to further the perception that Israel, its Gulf Arab neighbors and the United States are interested in using military action to topple the government of Iran. It comes at a particularly delicate moment, as the Trump administration uses a U.S.-organized summit in Warsaw and this week’s 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution to try to rally the world against the government in Tehran.

Such a war would be incredibly bloody, and the moment that missiles began to fall on Tel Aviv the Israelis would not hesitate to use nukes on Damascus and Tehran.

Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Meanwhile, the situation in Venezuela continues to unravel as well.  Sunday was the fourth day for the nationwide blackout, and Nicolas Maduro is blaming the failure of the power grid on a U.S. cyberattack…

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro – who is facing a challenge to his rule by the leader of the opposition-led congress, Juan Guaido – has blamed the blackout on an act of “sabotage” by the United States at the Guri hydroelectric dam, but experts say it is the outcome of years of underinvestment.

“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyberattacks,” Maduro wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.”

Hopefully the U.S. was not behind the cyberattack, because a cyberattack is an act of war.

And since nobody has asked the U.S. Congress for permission to go to war, such an attack would be in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, relations with North Korea are rapidly deteriorating as well.  In fact, Kim Jong-Un appears to be preparing to provoke the U.S. by launching a missile…

Following President Donald Trump’s stalemate talks with Kim Jong-Un, it appears North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or rocket some time soon.

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was ‘rapidly rebuilding’ its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site.

New images reveal activity may have also resumed at a second site near Pyongyang, known as Sanumdong, where intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets are assembled.

We truly do live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and this could very easily be a year of war for the United States.

Unfortunately, our military is not in very good shape right now.  In fact, in RAND’s recent “simulated World War III scenarios” the U.S. just kept on losing…

In simulated World War III scenarios, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China, two top war planners warned last week. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said Thursday.

RAND’s wargames show how US Armed Forces – colored blue on wargame maps – experience the most substantial losses in one scenario after another and still can’t thwart Russia or China – which predictably is red – from accomplishing their objectives: annihilating Western forces.

“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” he warned.

Over the past decade, the U.S. military has been dramatically transformed, and not for the better.

But even if our military was in the condition that it should be, we should still not desire war, because in this day and age weapons of mass destruction have made full-blown war between major powers absolutely unthinkable. (Click to Source)

 

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Hezbollah leader warns Israel over attacks in Syria

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Associated Press – 
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FILE – In this Aug. 2, 2013, file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a rally to mark Jerusalem day or Al-Quds day, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. On Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group is warning Israel of widening its attacks in Syria because a miscalculation can drag the region into a war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon warned Israel late Saturday over its continued attacks in Syria, saying a miscalculation could drag the region into a war.

Hassan Nasrallah made the comment during a wide-ranging interview that lasted more than three hours with the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV station.

Nasrallah said Iran, Syria and Hezbollah could “at any moment” decide to deal differently with Israel’s actions in Syria and hinted that Tel Aviv might be a target.

Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “Be cautious. Don’t continue what you are doing in Syria. Don’t miscalculate and don’t drag the region into a war or a major confrontation.”

Nasrallah said circumstances in the region have changed as Iran and its allies, including his group, expand their influence in the region. This means any war can be on more than one front, Nasrallah warned.

Israel has recently increased its attacks on suspected Iranian military targets in Syria, confirming such targeting in a shift from its longstanding policy of playing down or not commenting on its military activities in the war-torn country.

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy, and it has repeatedly warned that it will not allow Iranian troops — who have been fighting alongside Syrian government forces — to maintain a permanent presence in postwar Syria.

In the latest violence, the Israeli military claimed responsibility for a series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria last Monday, saying it was responding to an Iranian missile attack a day earlier. The Iranian launch followed a rare Israeli daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.

Nasrallah said Israel has failed to realize what he said are its goals in Syria: undermining the Syrian government, forcing Iran from Syria and preventing Hezbollah from acquiring precision missiles. He also said Netanyahu is the person “most disappointed” by U.S. plans to withdraw from Syria and cited the pullout as another “failure.”

Nasrallah’s appearance followed news reports in Israel and elsewhere that his health was failing. He dismissed the reports as “lies.”

“I don’t suffer from any health problems,” said Nasrallah, who seemed relaxed and at times joked with his interviewer and sipped on tea and water. “I have been active, and I also lost weight,” he said with a giggle.

The Hezbollah leader regularly addressed his supporters and made TV appearances about pressing issues in the region and Lebanon. But the 59-year-old Nasrallah, who has led his group through different wars with Israel for nearly three decades, had not appeared since November despite Israeli escalation in Syria and along Lebanon’s borders.

Nasrallah described his silence as intentional, saying Hezbollah chose not to address Israel’s attacks so as not to feed what he called an Israeli “publicity stunt.”

In December, the Israeli military launched “Operation Northern Shield” to detect and destroy what it has described as a vast network of Hezbollah tunnels built for militants to sneak across the border into Israel, capture territory and stage attacks. Israel discovered at least six tunnels, which it said were Hezbollah’s prime strategic investment for its next potential war.

In the first comments about the tunnel operation, Nasrallah played down the discoveries, saying Hezbollah would need more than a few tunnels if it ever decided to invade Israel.

He also said at least one of the tunnels was built more than a decade ago.

“This is a 13-year-old (Israeli) intelligence failure,” Nasrallah said. (Click to Source)

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Iran general says Tehran aims to wipe Israel off the ‘global political map’

Revolutionary Guard deputy leader Hossein Salami warns Israel that any war it starts ‘will end with its elimination’

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IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami. (YouTube screen capture)

 

The deputy head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Monday that Tehran’s strategy was to eventually wipe Israel off the “global political map.”

Asked by a reporter in Tehran about Israeli threats to strike Iranian forces deployed in Syria, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted by Iranian news outlets as saying, “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map. And it seems that, considering the evil that Israel is doing, it is bringing itself closer to that.”

He added: “We announce that if Israel does anything to start a new war, it will obviously be the war that will end with its elimination, and the occupied territories will be returned. The Israelis will not have even a cemetery in Palestine to bury their own corpses.”

Salami’s comments followed a series of reciprocal taunts by Israeli and Iranian leaders in recent weeks as tensions have risen on the Israeli-Syrian border between IDF and Iranian forces.

Last week, Israel reportedly conducted a rare daylight missile attack on Iranian targets in Syria. In response, Iran fired a surface-to-surface missile from Syria at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Mount Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Hours later, in the predawn hours of January 21, the Israeli Air Force launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets near Damascus and on the Syrian air defense batteries that fired upon the attacking Israeli fighter jets, the army said.

Twenty-one people were killed in the Israeli raids in Syria on January 21, 12 of them Iranian fighters, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor said the following day.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 12 of those killed were members of Salami’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, six were Syrian military fighters, and the other three were other non-Syrian nationals.

Israel sees Iranian entrenchment in Syria as a major threat and in recent years has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to Iran, which alongside its proxies and Russia is fighting on behalf of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Earlier this week, Iran’s military chief of staff indicated Tehran was preparing to adopt offensive military tactics to protect its national interests, an apparent reference to its posture in Syria toward Israel.

“Among the country’s broad strategies, there is a defensive strategy. We defend the independence and territorial integrity and national interests of the country,” Gen. Mohammad Bagheri was quoted as saying by Press TV on Sunday.

He said Iran did not intend to seize foreign territory, but “to protect our national achievements and interests, we may adopt an offensive approach.”

Also Sunday, the commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces, Brig. Gen. Kiumars Heidari, said his troops had transformed into a “forward-moving and offensive” force.

“To protect Iran, the armed forces no longer need asymmetric approaches, and we are at a stage where we can defend our homeland… by using good offensive approaches,” he said, according to Press TV.

The announcements by top Iranian brass comes days after the Islamic Republic held its annual infantry drill, involving some 12,000 troops, fighter jets, armored vehicles and drones.

The exercise, which Iranian officials called “war games,” involved newly developed rapid redeployment units, and focused on combat against enemies and armed militants, Reuters reported on Thursday.

General Heidari told state TV last week the exercise exemplified Iran’s military capabilities, and demonstrated to its enemies that they would be dealt a “rapid and crushing blow” if they attacked the Islamic Republic, Reuters reported.

Iran regularly holds exercises to display its military preparedness and has vowed to respond strongly to any attack by Israel or the United States, both of which view it as a regional menace. (Click to Source)

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World War 3 Cometh: Syria Is Threatening To Bomb The Airport In Tel Aviv And Iran Is Pledging To Wipe Israel Off The Map

 

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We always knew that this was coming.  We always knew that there would eventually be a war between Israel and Iran, but we had hoped that it could be put off for as long as possible.  Well, now it appears that time may have run out.  The exchange of missiles between the IDF and Iranian forces based in Syria on Sunday represented a major escalation of a conflict that has been simmering at a low level for months.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pledging to continue to “strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria”, and on the other side the Iranians and the Syrians have changed the rules of the engagement to allow for a military response against Israel every time Israel strikes targets inside Syria.  What this means is that there are going to be more missiles going back and forth, and it seems inevitable that both sides will eventually cross the point of no return.

And even now, we may be dangerously close to that line.  In the aftermath of the missile exchange on Sunday, the Israeli Minister of Intelligence declared that Israel is now in “an open confrontation with Iran”…

Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, later told Galatz that the policy for taking on Iran in Syria had changed and that the Jewish state was now in “open confrontation” with Iran.

This is an open confrontation with Iran. When we need to step it up, we’ll step it up,” Katz said while again adding that Israel would not allow the continuing Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

But the Iranians are not going anywhere, and they do not intend to back down at all.  So Israel will continue to strike the area in and around the airport in Damascus, and the Syrians are threatening to hit Ben Gurion Airport in return…

Syria’s United Nations envoy called on the world body’s Security Council to take measures against Israel’s continued assault on Syrian territories, as reported by the Syrian news agency Sana, wondering whether it would take a Syrian attack on Tel Aviv Airport to draw the council’s attention.

“Does drawing the attention of the war-makers in this Council require us to exercise our legitimate right to self-defense and respond to Israeli aggression on Damascus International Airport by responding in the same way on Tel Aviv Airport?” the Syrian envoy, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’afari, asked.

If Ben Gurion gets hit, we will immediately see fireworks in the Middle East like we haven’t seen in decades.

And the Iranians fully expect such a conflict to break out.  In fact, earlier this week the commander of Iran’s air force boldly declared that his forces “are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth”…

The head of Iran’s air force said on Monday the country was ready to fight Israel and destroy it.

Speaking to the Young Journalist Club, a website supervised by state television, Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh said: “The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth.”

The Iranians fully mean what they are saying.  They absolutely hate Israel with a passion and they will not stop until it no longer exists.

Last month, another top Iranian official made it exceedingly clear what Iran intends to do…

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs, said in a December 28 interview with the Iraqi television network Al-Nujaba that the “Islamic revolution in Iran will not back down” from the goal of “wiping out” the Jewish state.

And he went on to add that he plans to personally raise a flag over the city of Jerusalem once they conquer it…

He vowed to take part in that effort. “We were, we are, and we will continue to be the soldiers of Imam Khamenei,” he said, “until our last breath and until the last drop of our blood. I myself will hoist the flag of the Islamic Revolution in Jerusalem, Allah willing.”

Are you starting to understand why war between Israel and Iran is inevitable?

Iran is run by a bunch of nutjobs that all believe that they have a religious duty to wipe Israel off the face of the planet.  They think about this every day when they wake up, and they are still thinking about it every day when they go to sleep.

And if Israel and Iran go to war, guess who else will almost certainly enter the conflict?

President Trump has pledged to do whatever it takes to defend the nation of Israel, and it was recently revealed that at one point the White House actually asked the Pentagon to draw up a plan for bombing Iran.

Of course the Russians are already allied with Iran and their forces are already in Syria, and so they could easily be dragged into the conflict on the other side.

What we are talking about is an apocalyptic scenario which could easily lead to the outbreak of World War 3.

But we have gotten this far without a major regional war erupting in the Middle East, and hopefully cooler heads will prevail and things will calm down in the days ahead.

Because war is truly a horrible thing, and nobody should want to see a conflict erupt in which millions of people could potentially die. (Click to Source)

 

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Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria, Exposes Final Hezbollah Terror Tunnel

Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that the IDF nailed hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, in addition to discovering a sixth and final tunnel dug by Hezbollah terrorists.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, including a weapons facility in a weekend airstrike, as the military announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese terror group for cross-border attacks.

Speaking to the IDF Galilee Division near the Lebanese border, Netanyahu commented, “In the past 48 hours, Israel attacked an Iranian weapons warehouse at the international airport in Damascus. This reflects our consistent policy and strong determination to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria. If necessary, we will step up these attacks.”

He added, “At the same time, the IDF has exposed a sixth tunnel – the largest of all – that crossed into Israeli territory. This brings Operation Northern Shield to a successful close. We will continue to monitor all activity by Hezbollah, and by Iran and its proxies. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of Israel.”

The statements marked a rare, public acknowledgment of Israeli attacks against Hezbollah and its patron Iran in neighboring Syria, where Israel is long believed to have targeted Iranian weapons shipments to the Lebanese Shiite group.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also publicly confirmed the strike as he thanked outgoing military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for long years of service and particularly his marshaling of Israel’s campaign against Iran in recent years.

“We have operated with impressive success in thwarting Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria, in the framework of which the military has struck hundreds of times against Iranian and Hezbollah targets,” Netanyahu said. “In the last 36 hours alone, the air force struck storage facilities with Iranian weapons at the Damascus International Airport. The bulk of recent attacks show how we are more committed than ever to act against Iran in Syria, as we promised.”

Coupled with the announcement that after Sunday’s discovery, Israel was wrapping up its operation to destroy Hezbollah’s tunnel network into Israel, the weekend strike in Syria is widely seen as Eisenkot’s “parting shot” as his four-year tenure as military chief ends. He will be replaced on Tuesday by Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

After keeping a low profile throughout most of his term, Eisenkot gave a series on interviews over the weekend focusing on his shifting the military’s attention toward Iran directly, instead of just engaging its lesser proxies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza.

In a New York Times interview published Friday, Eisenkot said that Israel “has struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit” as part of his showdown with Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Eisenkot also revealed the government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017, stepping up airstrikes in Syria. In 2018 alone, he said Israel’s air force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria.

Operation Northern Shield

A far more visible part of his legacy has been the recent Lebanese border operation, which thwarted Hezbollah’s prime strategic investment for its next potential war.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday the final tunnel was the largest discovered so far, running hundreds of meters from under a Lebanese home and deep into Israeli territory. Israel launched “Operation Northern Shield” early last month to detect and destroy a vast network of Hezbollah tunnels the group hoped terrorists could use to sneak across the border and attack Israeli civilians.

Conricus said the latest tunnel originated from the Lebanese border town of Ramyeh, was 55 meters deep and ran 800 meters inside Lebanese territory and also “dozens” of meters into Israel. It included stairs, a rail system and a wide a passageway that allowed for the movement of equipment and a large number of forces.

The tunnel would be destroyed in the coming days, Conricus said, adding that while more tunnels still existed on the Lebanese side of the border, this effectively marked the end of the ambitious military operation.

“We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve,” he said. “According to our intelligence, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels into Israel.”

Netanyahu also commented on the tunnels in his address to the IDF Galilee Division on Sunday, “I think that everyone understands that a very serious threat was averted here. Hezbollah’s operational plan was to use the tunnels weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000-2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee, to seize communities here. Everyone understands how the war would look if Hezbollah battalions were in the Galilee, and with the Iranian army opposite the Golan Heights. We have prevented this – and will continue to prevent it.”

The tunnels violate a cease-fire resolution that ended a devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. Conricus said the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, was updated on the latest development.

In the wake of the tunnel discoveries, Israel has asked the international community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and launch action against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon. The military said its forces would stay deployed along the border to monitor for any other possible underground activity, and said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening within its territory.

The Hezbollah terror group, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the tunnels.

In recent years, Hezbollah has been bogged down in fighting in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. But with that war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel. (Click to Source)

Reported by: Associated Press and United With Israel
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Syria accuses Israel of attacking Damascus

Syrian media claims military intercepted Israeli missiles in attack on Syrian capital.

Arutz Sheva Staff, 25/12/18 22:41 | updated: 00:25
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Syrian air defense systems intercepted missiles near Damascus following an attack, Syrian media reported. The echo of explosions was heard throughout the Syrian capital.

A special broadcast was shown on Syrian television, during which it was said that “Israel continues its aggression.”

The report quoted a military source as saying that the Israeli attack was directed against weapons depots and that three soldiers were wounded.

Israel does not respond to such accusations as a matter of policy.

At the same time, Lebanese media reported that the Israel Air Force was operating in southern Lebanon, but it was unclear whether there was any connection between the reports.

The IDF stated that a missile defense system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile fired from Syria.

Yesterday, Netanyahu referred to the attacks in Syria and Israel’s military situation, saying, “Israel is ranked eighth in the world, and it is unbelievable. It is because we are systematically nurturing the strength of the IDF and the strength of the security bodies – the Mossad and the Shin Bet – which carry out daring operations for the security of the State of Israel and the safety of its citizens.”

“We are continuing with a firm hand to prevent Iran’s military buildup in Syria, and we are about to complete the dismantling of the tunnels in which Hezbollah has invested so much, just as we are about to end the disarming of tunnels in which Hamas has invested so much,” Netanyahu said.

“The IDF is prepared and prepared for every scenario, and I take this opportunity to salute the commanders and IDF soldiers who guard us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” (Click to Source)

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Israel warns that full-scale war with Gaza is ‘INEVITABLE’, as Israeli Security Cabinet mulls a massive strike against Hamas

 

Netanyahu, Liberman Warn Full-Scale War With Hamas ‘Inevitable’

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By: Ilanit Chernick/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Sunday that war with Hamas in Gaza was drawing ever closer.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said that “Hamas has yet to get the message that if it fails to stop its aggression it will be halted through other means and it will be painful, very painful.”

Netanyahu’s comments came after mass protests on Friday, during which several Palestinians breached the border fence and attacked an IDF position. Five Palestinians were killed in the incident and two more were killed during the violent protest along the border fence.

“We are very close to taking the kind of action that will include very painful strikes. If Hamas has any sense it will stop,” Netanyahu added.

‘Hamas is Responsible for Everything that is Happening’
Liberman was even more forceful warning that war with Gaza had become “inevitable.”

Liberman told the Hebrew language Ynet website that “We have reached the moment – we must strike Hamas with the hardest blow. We have made every effort and exhausted every possibility… War is inevitable.”

“Hamas has turned violence on the fence into a strategic weapon by which they hope to erode our ability to withstand and deter,” he told Ynet. “We have reached the moment that we have to strike the hardest blow possible on Hamas, but…the cabinet will have to decide.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also weighted in on the issue in an interview with Israel Radio, saying that: “Hamas is responsible for everything that is happening. If, in the coming days, we do not reach an understanding and quiet does not resume [on the Gaza border], there is a considerable probability of a major campaign.”

Nearly seven months of continued violence along the Gaza border have daily incendiary arson attacks that have destroyed thousands of acres of land in southern Israel and caused millions of shekels worth of damages.

Violent weekly mass demonstrations along the border have seen Palestinian breach the border fence on several occasions, attack Israeli military positions and vandalize security infrastructures.

Some 200 Palestinians have been killed, while one Israeli soldier was killed by sniper fire. (Click to Source)

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Bombs the perimeter of the Russian bases in Latakia and Tartu in Syria – Video

rampage

Syria is being attacked by a large-scale attack at the moment, as facilities and targets are being bombed around the Russian bases in Lattakia-Tartu, but also in Homs, Hamas, Damascus.

The attacks are both on the sea side and on the east. According to information, the Russian air defense network has also been activated by interceptions of missiles.

According to another source at least one projectile firing from the S-400 system was confirmed.

Syrian Strategic Researches@Syrian_SR

#BREAKING#Syria/n AD systems are engaging targets over the Syrain coast.

Details to follow.

Syrian Strategic Researches@Syrian_SR

Both #Syria/n #Russia/n AD systems are engaging targets over #Latakia and over the sea

I can confirm an S-400 launch.

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Yusha Yuseef

@MIG29_

Syrian air defense destroys enemy missiles coming from the sea towards Lattakia

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Explosions are heard in Homs-Hama, Damascus. Impression is the moment of the attack, immediately after the Putin-Erdogan agreement.

خالد اسكيف@khalediskef

فيديو من ريف #اللاذقية

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Sana reports that Latakia is being attacked and the target is the industrial zone while the anti-aircraft is activated.

And Damascus is being attacked and Hama …

خالد اسكيف@khalediskef

فيديو للانفجارات بريف #اللاذقية الآن

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Some reports talk about a new Israeli attack and not only.

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq
Replying to @QalaatAlMudiq

Air defenses are firing over Coastal Area. pic.twitter.com/WnkMCUaEHN

View image on Twitter

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq

Huge explosions following missile attack & air defenses fired over #Latakia & #Tartus provinces tonight. 1 pic.twitter.com/rhBUhUq8Os

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خالد اسكيف@khalediskef

#جبلة الآن

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and another video

خالد اسكيف@khalediskef

اسقاط صواريخ العدوان بريف #اللاذقية قبل لحظات في السماء .

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Strong explosions in Tartus

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq
Replying to @QalaatAlMudiq

Huge explosions following missile attack & air defenses fired over #Latakia & #Tartus provinces tonight. 1 pic.twitter.com/rhBUhUq8Os

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq

#Syria: major blasts shaking Coastal Area. Air defenses still firing. Total confusion. pic.twitter.com/2Q2AeeLM3S

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Attack on Lataceia

maytham@maytham956

#Syrian_Air_Defenses intersected several missiles #Tartous #Syria

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Syrian Industry Building is being fired

Aldin 🇧🇦@aldin_ww
Replying to @aldin_ww

First footage of Syrian AD missiles over Latakia.

Aldin 🇧🇦@aldin_ww

Syria State TV showing footage of HQ of the Technical Industries Agency in #Lattakia in flames after being hit by unknown missiles.

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The sky in Jableh

Kevork Almassian@KevorkAlmassian
Replying to @KevorkAlmassian

Video from the aggression on #Latakia pic.twitter.com/OIgUVbdbVP

Kevork Almassian@KevorkAlmassian

The skies of Jableh pic.twitter.com/bi2ou85M7d

(Click to Source)

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