European leaders agree that Iran must withdraw from Syria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting following a three-day trip in which he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
“I concentrated on the Iranian aggression in our region, on the latest developments in our region and – first and foremost – on Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told the Cabinet.
According to Netanyahu, the three European leaders agreed that achieving international agreement for the ousting of Iran from Syria is an important objective. “This was the goal of the trip and it was, to a large extent, achieved,” Netanyahu said.
“Even though Iran’s departure from Syria is a long process, I believe that if you set a goal, if you know where you are going, you have a greater chance of getting there. In any case, I made it clear that we will take strong action against attempts to establish a presence against us, and also against attacks on us. I think that this is understood and accepted by these leaders,” the prime minister added.
Earlier on Sunday, in an interview to the Daily Mail, Syrian President Bashar Assad denied Russian-Israeli coordination against Iranian and Syrian forces within Syria.
“Russia never coordinated with anyone against Syria, either politically or militarily,” said Assad. “That’s a contradiction; how could they [Russia] help the Syrian Army advancing and at the same time work with our enemies in order to destroy our army,” he added, referring to Israel.
On Thursday, Netanyahu spoke at an event organized by Policy Exchange, an influential center-right think tank in London, where he said that Assad would no longer be immune to Israeli retaliation, should he attack Israeli targets.
“He is no longer immune, his regime is no longer immune. If he fires at us, we will destroy his forces,” Netanyahu said, “I think there is a new calculus that has to take place, and Syria has to understand that Israel will not tolerate the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria against Israel.”
By: Yona Schnitzer