Israeli General Says Iran Seeks to Establish Forward Command Post in Syria

Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick says Israel is not looking to escalate the situation, but will respond to threats

Israeli Army Northern Commander Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick today in Golan Heights, February 11, 2018
Gil Eliahu

An Israeli general said on Sunday that Iran is seeking to establish a "forward command post in Syria," and that Israel cannot allow it.

Speaking a day after Israel carried out what the Israel Air Force said was the "most "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, chief of Northern Command, warned that "whoever crosses the line will get the appropriate response."

Speaking at a ceremonial exchange of the 210th Regional Division command, Strick stressed however that Israel is not looking to escalate the situation. "We have the capabilities, but we don't want to use them." 

At the same event, the outgoing commander of the 210th Division, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Ashur, said that "Iran and Hezbollah are seeking to build an extremist axis in the region." 

"A bloody war has been raging in Syria over the last five years, a war in which both sides have lost any semblance of humanity," Ashur said. "The fence that stands between us separates us not only as countries, but as cultures as well."

President Reuven Rivlin said Sunday that Israel cannot ignore the threat Iran poses for its security.

"We are not only speaking of nuclear danger, but of a country that supports terrorism," he said. "Everyone must understand that Israel cannot stand by as Iran seeks to take our lives and says so willingly." The president also expressed support for the way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled the events.

Speaking during a visit in Rambam Hospital to see the pilots who were wounded during the F-16 plane crash in the northern border, Rivlin added: "I was glad, along with my staff, to meet our wounded, and even more so to see them both recuperating at a swift pace."