March 21, 2019 - 10:58 AMT
Israel says "has full freedom of action" in countering Iran in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed the country's intention to fight the alleged entrenchment of Iranian forces in Syria, noting that Tel Aviv enjoys having "no limitation to freedom of action" in the Arab Republic, during his address on Israeli TV channels. The prime minister noted that such freedom of action is possible due to support from Washington, Sputnik International reports.

He added that the topic of countering the alleged Iranian military presence in Syria will be one of the topics for discussion with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem.

The statement came ahead of Netanyahu's planned visit to the US later this week, with the situation in Syria being high on the agenda of the upcoming talks with President Donald Trump in wake of US troops' gradual withdrawal from the Arab Republic. Earlier in the day, the US president stated that a total of 400 US troops will remain in Syria, with 200 of them deployed at a location near Israel.

Israel conducted airstrikes on Syrian soil on multiple occasions, claiming to have hit Iranian military targets. One of the recent airstrikes led to the destruction of several buildings at Damascus International Airport.

Damascus and Tehran slammed the airstrikes, urging the international community to take steps to prevent further Israeli attacks. Iran denies having a military presence in the Arab Republic apart from advisers sent in at the request of Damascus and to help it fight terrorist groups.

Relations between Israel and Iran remain strained, as Tehran denies the Jewish state's right to exist and has repeatedly vowed to destroy it.