In Damascus, Iran's Army Chief Warns Against Israeli Incursions Into Syria

Israel cannot 'violate Syria anytime it wants' said Iranian General Baqeri in Syria, pledging to deepen cooperation with Assad regime against 'Zionist enemy'

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iran's Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri in Ankara, Turkey, August 16, 2017.

Iran's military chief discussed ways to deepen cooperation with the Syrian military during a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, pledging to fight Israel and Sunni insurgents, Syrian state media said. 

"It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria anytime it wants," Baqeri said during a visit to Damascus, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. 

"We are in Damascus to assert and coordinate and cooperate to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists," Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri said, referring to Israel and Sunni militants including Islamic State. "We drew up the broad lines for this cooperation." 

Syrian protesters in Beirut, July 24, 2011
Bilal Hussein / AP

>> Israel’s Explosive Message to Russia Sent in Syria, Received in Tel Aviv >>

On Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia's defense minister Sergey Shoygu that Israel would not allow increased Iranian influence in Syria, and that "Iran needs to understand that."

On Monday, Israel notified the Russian operations center in Syria that it would attack a Syrian SA-5 anti-aircraft missile battery. The attack was in response to a missile fired by the Syrian battery on Israel Air Force planes carrying out a reconnaissance run in Lebanese airspace.

On Sunday the commander of Iran's Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, visited the disputed city of Kirkuk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the Iran nuclear program, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. 

In a phone call, held on the initiative of the Israeli side, the two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria and the referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan, the Kremlin said in a statement.