JERUSALEM, Israel – Iran is pulling out of Syria and shutting down its military bases, Israeli media reported Tuesday, citing anonymous military officials.
Iran is Israel’s biggest foe in the region and Israeli leaders have vowed to drive the Islamic republic out of Syria and never allow it to entrench itself so close to the Jewish State.
"We are determined, more determined, and I will tell you why - for Iran, Syria is an adventure 1,000 miles from home, but for us it is life,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said. “Iranian soldiers who come to Syria and act there are endangering their lives. They are risking their lives and will pay with their lives. We will not give up nor allow the establishment of a forward Iranian base in Syria. "
Iran has been the Syrian regime’s main ally and has been sending thousands of militia fighters to the war-torn country since 2011.
While Israel usually does not comment on reports about its activity in Syria, there are increasing reports that Israel is responsible for hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian forces in Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday that Israel was responsible for airstrikes in eastern Syria that killed at least 14 Iranian militia fighters on Monday.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s operations against Iran in Syria are bearing fruit and Israel will increase pressure on Iran until it leaves Syria.
Flights from Iran bringing weapons to Syria have decreased substantially over the last six months, reportedly as a result of Israel’s airstrikes.
“Syria is paying a growing price for the Iranian presence in its territory, for a war that isn’t [Syria’s]. Iran has turned from an asset to Syria into a burden,” the anonymous military officials told reporters.