Iran to keep forces in Syria upon Assad's request

Iran Rejects Russian Demand To Withdraw Troops From Syria

A Syrian military source was quoted as saying air defenses shot down eight missiles fired at the base, where defense analysts say there are large deployments of Russian forces, and where jets fly regular sorties to strike rebel-held areas.

The spokesman went on to say that as a committed party to the JCPOA, following the unilateral, illegal and scandalous withdrawal of the USA from the multi-national agreement, the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain in the deal as long as the remaining sides acknowledge Iran's rights under the accord.

" The Iranians will strike back, not on the Israeli territories, but on the Golan Heights". The head of U.S. Central Command spoke to the Tampa Bay Times on Monday from his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base. "Still, I don't see a massive war here; I see tensions running high".

Syria's military says it has retaken the last neighborhoods in southern Damascus held by the Islamic State group and is declaring the capital and its surroundings "completely safe" and free of any militant presence. "We're not trying to impose this on the Syrians - this is unacceptable to them, both for the opposition and Damascus". Today, Putin has a dual problem in Syria: Israel and Iran.

It's unusual for two regional powers without a common a border to be at each other's throats.

Map of targets of Israeli strike in Syria
Map of targets of Israeli strike in Syria

At a Monday morning speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran "will never again dominate the Middle East" and that if they try to restart their nuclear program, "they would have bigger problems than they have ever had before". The Iranian leadership, known to be conducting skillfully short and long-term policies, could not have misinterpreted the Israeli threat perceptions, concerns and even calculates and anticipates the possible Israeli responses. Engaging in a protracted war with Israel in Syria would distract these efforts and strengthen Iran's hardliners. The creation of Israel in 1948-and its conquest of additional territories in 1967-displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

But unlike Israel and its Arab neighbours, the two countries have never had a direct confrontation. Their presence in the small, multicultural state of Lebanon eventually destabilized a precarious balance of power between diverse factions divided by ethnicity, religion and ideology, contributing to the outbreak of a civil war in 1975. On Thursday 10 May, Israel claimed to have destroyed almost all Iranian military installations and facilities close to Israel- Syria border in mid-night raids in response to the alleged Iranian rocket attacks.

Meanwhile, religious divisions facilitated Iran's involvement in the conflict. Another legacy, even more hard for Jerusalem, is the nuclear agreement with Iran, which despite the severe (if temporary) restrictions imposed on Teheran's nuclear weapons development left two critical issues unaddressed: Iran's ballistic missile program and, more importantly, its destabilizing efforts throughout the region. Iran-the chief Shia country in the Islamic world-organized and armed a coalition of Shia fighters called Hezbollah to fight the Israelis.

Though Hezbollah initially opposed Syrian influence in Lebanon, Damascus would eventually become a junior-partner in the management of Hezbollah.

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