BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran’s military chief warned Israel against breaching Syrian airspace and territory on a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, raising tensions with Israel as it voices deep concern over Tehran’s influence in Syria.
General Mohammad Baqeri pledged to increase cooperation with Syria’s military to fight Israel and insurgents, Iranian and Syrian state media said.
Iranian forces and Iran-backed Shi‘ite militias, including Hezbollah, have provided critical military support to Damascus, helping it regain swathes of Syria from rebels and militants.
“It’s not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate the land and airspace of Syria anytime it wants,” Baqeri said at a news conference with his Syrian counterpart.
“We are in Damascus to assert and cooperate to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists,” he said, a reference to Israel and Sunni Muslim jihadists including Islamic State.
“We drew up the broad lines for this cooperation,” Syrian state media cited the Iranian military chief of staff as saying.
Iran’s expanding clout during Syria’s more than six-year war has raised alarm in Israel, which has said it would act against any threat from its regional arch-enemy Tehran.
Israel’s air force says it has struck arms convoys of the Syrian military and Hezbollah nearly 100 times during the war.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran was strengthening its foothold in Syria and that Israel would “do whatever it takes” to protect its security.
Tensions have risen this year between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel, which have avoided a major conflict since 2006. Read Reuters article
Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 17:1-3 ESV
Finding the modern day equivalents of some of the cities and nations that the ancient prophets refer to at times can be difficult, but Damascus is not one of them. Here in Isaiah, Damascus, Syria is clearly called out in the prophet’s Oracles Against the Nations. Some even refer to this section as Isaiah’s Mini Apocalypse.
Iran is another one that is not too hard to find. In recent history the old name of Persia was changed to Iran. We find Persia too clearly called out in Ezekiel’s end time scenario often called the Ezekiel 38 War. Since the Civil War in Syria began, Iran has been inching closer and closer to Israel’s northern border. This article stood out to me because not only has Iran’s armies moved in, but now they are inserting themselves into Syrian and Israeli affairs.