Iran BLASTED for 'TRYING TO STRANGLE' Israel amid heightening Syria fears

Middle Israel The conflict at 70 An appraisal

Round 1 occurred on February 10, when an Iranian drone launched by a Quds Force unit operating out of Syria's T4 air base, in central Syria, was shot down with a missile from an Israeli Apache helicopter that was following it after it penetrated northern Israel airspace.

On Tuesday, to drive home that point, the Israeli government reportedly distributed maps to Israeli news organizations showing five Iranian-controlled bases in Syria.

Israel accused Tehran of taking up base in Syria and seeking all possible efforts to entrench itself there.

'Israel will react strongly to any Iranian action from inside Syria, ' senior IDF source told Sky News according to JPost. Until now, he said, Israel's warnings "fell on deaf ears" with Russian Federation, but suspected that recent escalations could make Moscow "more sensitive" to the message.

According to officials within Tehran's establishment, including military leaders, Iran is now in the process of putting together a response plan to deliver Israel a blow. But Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force seems determined to try to turn Syria into a base from which to pressure Israel, and Israel seems determined to prevent that.

A complete recording of the call is available here.

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The timing of the raid - right after Syria had bombed a rebel-held enclave with chemical weapons that killed dozens and injured hundreds - led Syria to first accuse the American administration of it.

The Iranian presence in Syria may pose the most hard and complicated threat to Israel in half a century. Though Israel's secretive military regularly refuses to either confirm or deny its actions, an unnamed military source admitted to the New York Times that his country was behind the strike. From Iran's perspective, these are a threat.

Shayrat air base was targeted previous year in a USA cruise missile attack in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 70 people, including children, on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

State television showed pictures of a missile that was shot in the air above the air base only days after a U.S., British and French attack on Syrian targets in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack on the city of Douma on the outskirts of Damascus.

The confusion during the false alarm highlights growing concerns of escalation in the wake of a USA -led coalition strike on Syria's chemical weapons infrastructure Saturday and an April 9 strike on an air base Israel is believed to have carried out. In retrospection, it may have been Israel's strategic mistake to allow Iran to create the threat in Lebanon but it certainly amplifies the current dilemma in dealing with Iran's similar ambitions in Syria. Israel's military spokesman declined to comment. By establishing a military base in Syria it opens a second front connected to the one it studiously developed in Lebanon by arming its proxy, the Hizbullah.

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