Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Syria Claims Air Defenses Downed ‘Hostile Target’ Near Damascus

Syria Claims Air Defenses Downed ‘Hostile Target’ Near Damascus

On Monday, the pro-Assad coalition in Syria finally finished off the last pockets of Islamist resistance along the Israeli border on the Golan Heights after a six-week-long campaign which included the "liberation" of the Daraa and Kuneitra provinces in southwest Syria.

Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km (53 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, TASS quoted a Russian envoy as saying on Wednesday, but Israel deemed the pullback inadequate.

Underlining the tensions, Israel killed seven militants in an overnight air strike on the Syrian-held part of the Golan Heights, Israeli radio said on Thursday.

President Bashar al-Assad's sweeping away of rebels in southwestern Syria has anxious Israel, which last week downed a Syrian warplane that it said breached a Golan buffer zone and warned Iranian forces backing him against deploying there.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it was tracking the movement of the men toward the border fence with Israel on the Golan Heights on Wednesday evening.

Gains by President Bashar Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war present advantages for Israel even though the two countries remain technically at war, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday.

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It said Turkey would "respond in kind without delay" against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the two men played leading roles in his 2016 arrest and later detention.

On July 22 Hashem Safi al-Din, head of Hezbollah's Executive Council, said during a commemorative ceremony in Nabatieh, Lebanon to mark the anniversary of the Second Lebanon War that Hezbollah, which is an Iranian proxy army, had not left southern Syria and had participated in the battle against rebels in Daraa and Kuneitra which borders Israel.

Russian Federation demanded the immediate access by global humanitarian entities to the Rukban refugee camp, where it is suspected that the Pentagon carries out recruitment work among civilians to make up radical groups.

He said the Russian presence there was in support of United Nations peacekeepers on the Golan Heights who, he said, had suspended their activities in the area in 2012 because their safety was endangered. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State militants.

The Israeli military confirmed a strike against what it called "armed terror operatives" but it did not give any details on casualties. The Syrian government says Israeli attacks are helping only terrorists and that the only Iranian troops on the ground in Syria are advisers helping the Syrian Arab Army fight jihadists.

A series of blistering offensives backed by Moscow and Tehran has forced the fighters out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's regime back in control of almost two-thirds of the country.

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