Israel will “eliminate” Syrian President Bashar Assad if he continues to let Iran operate from Syria, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz threatened on May 7, according to the news website ynet.co.il.
Steinitz said that President Assad needs to understand if he allows Iran to turn Syria into a military base to attack Israel, this will be his end.
“It’s unacceptable that Assad sits quietly in his palace and rebuild his regime while allowing Syria to be turned into a base for attacks on Israel,” Steinitz said.
The remarks triggered significant jitters in the media and Steinitz was forced to clarify that his comments reflect his personal opinion.
At the same time, the Israeli media is fueling rumors that Iran may have been preparing attacks on Israel in response to the April 9 Israeli strike on Syria’s T4 airbase where some Iranian personnel were killed. One of the most popular versions is a missile strike on Israeli targets from southern Syria that may be conducted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah or some other Iranian-affiliated forces.
Israeli officials have repeatedly claimed that Tel Aviv will respond with a full force to any Iranian attacks on its objects from Syria.