IDF, Russian and Syrian militaries on high alert; Russia threatens to down and target launch sites of any US missiles targeting Syria; Lieberman: We will not allow Iranian entrenchment in Syria no matter the price to pay. We have no other option.
Russia warned on Wednesday morning that any US missiles fired at Syria would be intercepted and their launch sites targeted in response.
Russia’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, made the threat in an interview for Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV, stating “If there is a strike by the Americans, then…the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.”
The threat followings the United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria Tuesday night, Russia and the United States both using their veto power to block each others resolutions on an investigation into the chemical weapons attack that took place over the weekend.
The United States has reiterated that it holds Russia responsible for choosing to protect “a monster over the lives of the Syrian people,” as stated by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
Russia continues to accuse the United States of misleading the international community, while it also denies Assad’s regime carried out the chemical attack in Ghouta. The Russian military claims it inspected the site of the chemical attack in Ghouta, reporting no evidence of the attack. It’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia accused the “United States is again [of] trying to mislead the international community and is making yet one more step toward confrontation. It is clear that the provocation step has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened.”
Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, reiterated on Tuesday that it would not let Iran to threaten the Jewish state from Syria, stating “We will not allow Iranian entrenchment in Syria no matter the price to pay. We have no other option. Allowing Iran to strengthen itself in Syria is like accepting that the Iranians noose around our neck.“ Consistent with Israel’s refusal to comment on the airstrikes in Syria, Lieberman stated on the attack “I do not know what happened or who attacked… we see more and more attempts by Iran to establish itself in Syria and not for humanitarian or cultural reasons.”
The IDF has been placed on high alert given the threats from Syria and Iran. Both Russia and Syria have also placed their militaries on high alert.
Special advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, visited Syria this week, warning Israel that there would be a response and that “The crimes will not remain unanswered.” His remarks following Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif accusations that Israel and the United States are supporting rebel forces against Assad’s regime, claiming “Whenever the terrorists face defeats, the Zionist regime launches operations and so do the Americans.”
Iran also released photos of the bombed hangar where 4 of its soldiers were killed in the airstrikes. This is a first formal confirmation that Iran is operating in Syria.
Meanwhile, President Trump cancelled a trip to South America in order to “oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.” On a possible military intervention in Syria, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated on Tuesday “The president has been clear- all options are on the table. But I’m not going to get ahead of anything the president may or may not do.”
President Trump on Monday reported that the United States would decide in the coming days on how to respond to Syria. He stated “We have a lot of options militarily, and we’ll be letting you know pretty soon. Probably after the fact.” On Wednesday morning the President took to Twitter and responded to Russia’s threat, “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Amir will address all of this and much more during his special update on Syria. Tune in on Wednesday evening at 8:00 pm (Athens time).
Photo: Putin during visit to Syria in 2017, Wikimedia Commons, 2018