Damascus Warns Tel Aviv of 'More Surprises' in Syria

10 2018 show Israeli solders taking positions in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the border with Syria

AFP 2018 JALAA MAREYIsraeli Minister Warns Assad Against Allowing Iran to Cross'Red Lines

Returning home, an F-16 was hit and crashed, unleashing the most devastating Israeli attack in decades on Syria.

The warning comes after Saturday's incident in which an Iranian drone crossed into Israeli airspace.

While Israel has once again routinely blamed the entire episode on the Iranians, Blumenthal believes Damascus might have finally lost its patience over constant violations of its sovereignty and the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

Tensions between the two enemies over Syria had been building for some time, with at least three separate interests at work, several analysts say. The crisis which erupted seven years ago as a domestic political unrest has turned into a devastating war in which regional powers such as Iran, Israel and Turkey, along with major global powers, the US and Russian Federation, are involved. Iran could very well be setting up shop in Syria as the security situation there turns decidedly from dealing with ISIS to determining who will dominate this strategic Middle Eastern country.

Assistant foreign minister Ayman Sussan warned that his country is more than capable of "confronting attacks" despite being wracked by civil war.

He also reiterated Russia's ongoing diplomatic efforts on Syria.

While the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the Israeli strikes on targets in Syria, urging the sides to avoid escalating the situation, the USA expressed full support for Israel, backing Israel's claims and blaming Iran for escalating the situation in Syria. Last week's deadly attack carried out by Iranian backed militias on Turkish troops deep inside Syria cast doubt on the survival of the de-escalation agreement.

ICG senior analyst Ofer Zalzberg told AFP following the latest confrontation that it increased the chances of war over the longer term.

"Israel seeks peace, but we will continue to defend ourselves steadfastly against any attack against us or any attempt by Iran to establish itself against us in Syria", Netanyahu said in a televised statement.

The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said, "The era of hit and run is over", in reference to Israeli airstrikes on Syrian soil.

On the contrary, Russia, Iran and Turkey are betting they can eventually push the United States out of Syria, allowing Turkey to overrun the Kurds, the Assad regime to regain full political control and Iran to dig in on Israel's northern border. "America stands with Israel, and resolutely against Iran's unprovoked act of war", Cruz said in a statement. In addition to the tactical success of downing the Israeli jet, Iran and Syria will use this feat for propaganda. "Iran can create a hell for the Zionist regime of Israel", Salami said. During the attack, Syrian air defense managed to shoot down an Israeli aircraft, also for the first time.

Both pilots ejected and were injured, one critically. The prime minister has been seeking to persuade Russian Federation to limit Iran's presence near Israeli territory and to stop it from gaining a military foothold in Syria.

During a telephone conversation in last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed the opposition of their respective countries to the presence of foreign forces in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government and nation.

With Assad having prevailed over the rebellion against him and the Islamic State squeezed into a last sliver of territory along the Iraqi-Syrian border, the rival players now are battling to shape the final outcome of the war.

A Western diplomat in the region said: "My impression is that it seems to be contained at this point". "In general the parties are not looking for a war".

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