EXCLUSIVE – Arab Official: Syria Pressured by Iran to Target Israeli Aircraft
The Syrian Army’s stated firing of two missiles at Israeli war planes making a cross-border incursion on Tuesday came in response to Iranian pressure, an Arab intelligence official said.
Israeli officials confirmed Israeli Air Force aircraft were fired on while they were flying over Syria in response to a shell that struck Israeli-controlled territory. However, claims that a warplane and drone were intercepted were denied, with Israel saying the missiles didn’t pose any threat to the aircraft.
The Syrian arms says is fired two surface-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes, which were retaliating for more errant mortar fire from Syria landing in the Golan Heights.
Speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, the Arab intelligence official said that whereas Iran supported the Russian-American ceasefire bid in Syria, it believes the agreement gives the rebels and their sponsoring states precious time to rearm.
“At present, when Aleppo is at the center of the ceasefire, we have noticed several Iranian attempts to deflect the conflict to the vicinity of Quneitra, in the Golan Heights,” he said. “It is meant to apply pressure on the Golan rebels to resume fighting in Aleppo in retaliation, in order to help their friends [the rebels] in the Golan. Iran is also using the escalation to test Israel. That’s why the pro-Iran media hurries to present Israel’s retaliation as helping the rebels. This is a key element in Iran’s propaganda, according to which the war in Syria isn’t between the regime and its detractors, but between Syrian and Arab elements that are in cahoots with Israel and the US on the one hand, and anti-Israel and anti-US parties, chiefly Iran, Hezbollah and Assad, on the other.”
He added that Iran pressures Syria and Hezbollah into firing on Israeli fighter jets “to foil the prospective geographical solutions to the Syrian crisis. The Iranians disapprove of Turkey being given a green light to deal with the Islamic State and the Kurds on the border area, and of the fact that the ceasefire applies mostly to Aleppo. They’re after either ensuring the rebels’ defeat on the battlefield, or a diplomatic solution that would ensure their interests. The incremental process only delays the resolution of the crisis and takes up precious resources that the Iranians wish to invest in next year’s elections.”
“The conservative wing wants Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Al Quds Platoon, to be their presidential candidate,” he further said. “They wouldn’t want to reach Election Day without a decisive resolution of the Syrian conflict, and one that guarantees their interests while, at the same time, reducing the amount of resources invested in fighting. According to the Iranians, a controlled escalation that would bring Israel into the equation may induce tectonic movements on the diplomatic front, or turn the table and persuade the Russians to resume attacks on Aleppo, if the rebels there choose to retaliate against the provocations in the Golan.”
He said finally that Jordan is following the developments with concern, fearing that Iranian provocations could spark clashes that will spill over into its territory.
“Iran doesn’t care about further war and devastation in Syria as long as they’re not directly involved, and as long as it serves their interests,” he said. “As long as the death toll is tolerable, and doesn’t include Iranian casualties, they will continue their experiments in Syria, the latest of which is pressuring the army to fire on Israeli aircraft.”