|RT | May 31, 2018|
Over the last couple of months, Israel has intensified its bombing of military infrastructure in Syria, arguing that the Iranian presence in the Arab Republic jeopardizes its own national security.
However, Israel’s justification for its air strikes based on alleged Iranian assets is a “lie,” Assad told RT’s Murad Gazdiev in an exclusive interview.
“We don’t have Iranian troops,” Assad said. “We always said that we have Iranian officers, but they work with our army, we don’t have [Iranian] troops.”
Some Israeli politicians have threatened to “liquidate” Assad and topple his government if Iran continues to operate in Syria and transfer weapons to the Lebanese Hezbollah. The Syrian president, however, has made it clear that he is not afraid of the threat.
“The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now, for around seven decades, in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threaten in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling because they are losing the ‘dear ones,’ the dear ones Al-Nusra and ISIS, that’s why Israel is panicking recently, and we understand their feeling,” Assad said.
Rejecting claims that Syria’s air defenses are practically useless against Israeli jets, the 52-year-old Syrian leader said the old Soviet weapons were capable of repelling numerous IAF strikes and the US-led bombardment in April, when the US, Britain, and France fired over 100 cruise missiles at Syria.
“Our air defense is much stronger than before, thanks to the Russian support and the recent attacks by the Israelis and by the Americans and British and French proved that we are in a better situation” than at the start of the civil war seven years ago, he said.
To protect the sovereignty of Syria, Assad vowed to “improve our air defense, this is the only thing we can do, and we are doing that.”
Assad also said that crippling Syria’s air defenses was one of the original tactics used by the “mercenaries” at the beginning of the conflict, and that it was never designed to aid the “peaceful demonstrators,” but would certainly help in case of a foreign military intervention to depose the government.
“So, they attacked those bases, and they destroyed a big part of our air defenses,” he said, arguing that Israel continues to take advantage of that to this day. “This is the other proof that Israel was in direct link with those terrorists in Syria.”