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Israel issues Syria warning over Iran-backed forces

Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israel will continue to take military action in Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2017

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Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israel will continue to take military action in Syria even as Russia and the United States attempt to broker a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israel will continue to take military action in Syria even as Russia and the United States attempt to broker a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

A November 8 agreement between Jordan, the United States and Russia seeks to build on a ceasefire already in place in southwestern Syria.

Israel was reportedly seeking a buffer zone in southern Syria near Israeli territory of some 50 kilometres but the agreement reached last week fell short of that demand, Israeli media said.

"We are controlling our borders, we are protecting our country and we will continue to do so," Netanyahu said in public remarks to members of his right-wing Likud party in parliament.

"I have also informed our friends, firstly in Washington and also our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria, including in southern Syria, according to our understanding and according to our security needs".

Israel has long voiced concern about Iran's influence in Syria and has lobbied both world powers to prevent Iran, Hizballah and other Shia militias from establishing permanent bases in the country.

Israel's military has carried out more than 100 strikes in Syria, the majority targeting suspected Hizballah or Iranian weapons depots or in retaliation for shelling from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

On Saturday the Israeli military said it shot down a Syrian drone carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the Golan Heights.

"We will not allow the consolidation of a Shiite axis in Syria" as a base for operations against Israel, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement after the incident.

Tensions on the border between Israel and Syria have stepped up in recent years, largely due to the involvement of Iran and Hizballah in Syria's war.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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