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Assad 'no longer immune' from retaliation, says Israel

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned Iran of military action [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2018

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Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his forces could be targeted by Israel, if Tel Aviv's military is targeted, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Thursday.

Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime is "no longer immune" from retaliation, Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, as tensions between the two countries continue.

Israel has launched numerous attacks on military positions in Syria over the past months, in particular targeting militias tied to Iran.

Visiting the UK on Thursday, Netanyahu warned Assad that Iran is not the only target of Israeli military jets in Syria.

"He is no longer immune, his regime is no longer immune. If he fires at us, we will destroy his forces," Netanyahu said.

"I think there is a new calculus that has to take place and Syria has to understand that Israel will not tolerate the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria against Israel," he said.

Israel held talks with Assad ally Russia last week, about the possible replacement of Iranian militias with regime troops in southern Syria.

This would be one possible way of reducing tensions in southern Syria, following repeated flare-ups between Israel and Iran.

With Syria's regime and Iran rejecting the plan this week, Netanyahu responded with a warning to Assad.

"The consequences [of action] are not merely to the Iranian forces there but to the Assad regime as well. I think it's something that he should consider very seriously," Netanyahu said.

Last month, Israel launched widespread airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria, after rockets were fired at the illegally-occupied Golan Heights.

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