Israel's UN Ambassador: Iran Trying to Turn Syria Into Its Military Base

At the UN Security Council, Danny Danon accused Iran of attempting to destabilize the region by making Syria its military base

Iran's senior military officers at a frontline in Aleppo, Syria. October 20, 2017
Uncredited/AP

Danny Danon, Israel's UN ambassador, is accusing Iran of attempting to turn Syria into "the largest military base in the world" to destabilize the region, threaten Israel and "terrorize the entire free world."

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

Danon told the Security Council on Thursday that classified information he was releasing showed that 82,000 fighters are currently under Iranian authority in Syria.

He said the fighters include 60,000 Syrians, 9,000 members of Hezbollah, 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard members and "10,000 members of violent Shia militias recruited from across the Middle East, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The figures could not be independently confirmed, but Danon said the Iranians "speak about 100,000 troops under their control in Syria."

He added that Iran is investing "hundreds of millions of dollars" in Syria including on land and factories."

Meanwhile, a UN review of human rights topics in Israel has issued 240 recommendations, including that it end settlement expansion.

Israel said it would need time to review 232 recommendations made by individual countries in the Human Rights Council working group in Geneva. It "noted" eight recommendations submitted by the "State of Palestine," saying the entity doesn't "satisfy the criteria for statehood under international law."

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. had taken Jerusalem off the negotiating table for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He made the annoucement ahead of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

From Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired back at Trump, telling him that if Jerusalem is off the negotiating table then the U.S. no longer has a seat at that table, officials for the Palestinian leader said.