Israeli air strikes hit southwest Syria after drone 'infiltration'

Israeli air strikes hit southwest Syria after drone 'infiltration'

Israeli air strikes hit southwest Syria after drone 'infiltration'

The Israeli military acknowledged in a statement that three Syrian army positions in Quneitra province were targeted overnight, saying it was in retaliation for the entering of a Syrian drone into its airspace a few hours earlier.

A Patriot missile launched to intercept the drone, which set off air-defence sirens on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and nearby Jordanian border, the military said in a statement.

Israel has intensified its bombing of military infrastructure in Syria over the last couple of months, despite the conflict winding down, with terrorists and extremist militants controlling ever-decreasing swathes of land and so-called "moderates" joining the state-wide reconciliation process in growing numbers.

The military said it will "continue to operate determinedly and decisively against any attempt to breach Israeli sovereignty and will act against any attempt to hurt its civilians". The Netanyahu government is detemined to keep fighters loyal to Assad and to Iran out of the Syrian Golan border area near Israel.

But diplomats on both sides say Russian Federation has made clear that it would oppose any Israeli action endangering Assad's rule.

In the heaviest Israeli firing since the start of the Syrian War, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.

Israel is particularly anxious about the presence of Damascus ally Iran next door in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, July 11, 2018.

Netanyahu reportedly insisted in his first sit-down with Putin that Iranian forces in Syria be evacuated following the country's civil war. The 1974 agreement officially ended the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and Syria.

But on Tuesday, Israel also signalled openness to eventual ties with Syria under Assad, a tacit acknowledgement that he was re-consolidating power as he beats back the rebels.

"It is clear that our focus is on Syria and Iran", Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.

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