Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must stop or reduce Iranian operations in his country or Israel has warned it will bomb his palaces, reported Arab news portal Elaph on Monday.
The Post reported that Elaph had “learned from a senior source that Israel sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning him against continuing to cover up Iran’s military operations in his country, including the transfer of powerful weapons to Syria.
Assad was then informed that one of his palaces “would be a target in the next raid carried out by Israeli fighters in Syria,” although the Post could not independently confirm the story and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declined to comment.
Based in London, Elaph – owned by a Saudi businessman and journalist – reportedly has a “mixed relationship with the Saudi leadership” according to the Jerusalem Post.
The purported threat against Syrian presidential palaces comes just days after Israel allegedly targeted Damascus International Airport, bombing an advanced Iranian weapons transport to Syria by the Islamist Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) using civilian planes.
Syria’s state-controlled SANA news agency claimed that the air strikes injured one person and caused material damage. Satellite images showed three impact craters on both of the military and civilian runways, which reportedly disabled the entire airport.
Russia condemned the alleged Israeli airstrikes.
“We are compelled to reiterate that the ongoing Israeli shelling of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, in violation of the basic norms of international law, is absolutely unacceptable,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, adding that such actions put civilians in danger.
“We strongly condemn Israel’s provocative attack on the most important object of the Syrian civilian infrastructure. Such irresponsible actions create serious risks for international air traffic and put the lives of innocent people in real danger. We demand of the Israeli side to stop this vicious practice.”
The Damascus airport bombing was the third military strike to be blamed on the Jewish state in one week.
Israel’s strikes against Iranian targets in Syria are known as “the war between wars” and have been ongoing for about seven years. The strikes are part of the much larger “shadow war” that has been going on for decades between Israel and the Iranian regime, since Iran established the Islamist terrorist regime Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel has been targeting Iran’s terrorist proxies – Hezbollah, Hamas and others – but this week Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the implementation of his “Octopus Doctrine,” under which Israel will look to hit the head of the octopus – the Iranian regime itself – rather than Iran’s terrorist proxies and militias.
“We no longer play with the tentacles, with Iran’s proxies. We’ve created a new equation by going for the head,” Bennett said. “The past year saw a turning point in Israel’s strategy vis-à-vis Iran. In the past year, the State of Israel has taken action against the head of the terrorist octopus and not just against the arms as was done in previous decades. The days of immunity – in which Iran attacks Israel and spreads terrorism via its regional proxies but remains unscathed – are over. We are taking action, everywhere, at any time, and will continue to do so.”
Bennett’s octopus strategy is not new. He explained it during a 2018 speech at the Institute for National Security Studies.
“Israel has focused for 30 years on fighting the messengers. We have barely touched the hosts. We have not dealt at all with the distributor or sender,” he said.
Under the Octopus Doctrine, “a rocket from Lebanon will be treated like an Iranian rocket. We will not waste our resources and energy fighting in Lebanese towns while you recline your chair and watch,” Bennett said at the time.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.