Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, July 12 that Israel does not object to Syrian President Bashar Assad reexerting control over the country and stabilizing his regime’s power, but Israel will act to protect its borders against the Syrian military if necessary – as it has in the past, Haaretz reports.
“We haven't had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu told reporters before leaving Moscow to return to Israel, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I have set a clear policy that we do not intervene and we have not intervened. This has not changed. What has troubled us is IS and Hezbollah and this has not changed. The heart of the matter is preserving our freedom of action against anyone who acts against us. Second, the removal of the Iranians from Syrian territory,” he added.
Netanyahu's comments come hours after Israel's air force attacked three military positions in Syria in response to a Syrian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace on Wednesday. Israel shot down the drone.
According to Syrian media reports, Hezbollah positions were hit in the Quneitra province in Syria's Golan Heights. The attack took place in the village of Khan Arnabeh and in another city in Quneitra, Syrian media reported.
Netanyahu was in Moscow for two days to meet with Putin – and watch a semi-final match of the World Cup soccer tournament.
On Wednesday, Israeli sources said that Russia has been working to push Iran away from Israel's border with Syria. While Russia is working on this, Israel has avoided intervening and disrupting stabilizing efforts by Assad’s regime as he retakes Syria’s south.