Photo Credit: Ofer Zidon/ Flash 90
Israeli F-16 in Blue Flag exercise, November 12, 2017.

The Israeli military has warned Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad that one of his palaces may be the next target for an air strike, according to a report published by Elaph and quoted Tuesday by Hebrew-language Israel Hayom.

“Elaph learned from a senior source that Israel sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning him against continuing to cover up Iran’s operations in his country, and the transfer of quality weapons to Syria, and informed him that one of his palaces would be a target in the next raid carried out by Israeli fighters in Syria,” the London-based Arabic-language news outlet reported.

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Elaph journalist Majdi Halabi also reported that Russia was warned “several hours” in advance of recent Israeli air strikes that took place across the country.

Last week, Israel was blamed by Syria and Russia for air strikes that disabled two of the runways at Damascus International Airport.

Operations at the airport were completely shut down after the attack which reportedly targeted shipments of advanced Iranian weapons transported by Tehran’s elte Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to Syria on civilian planes.

The move was seen as an effort to pressure Assad into taking a harder line against Iran’s use of Syrian territory and its infrastructure for its military bases and support operations for Hezbollah, comprising an existential threat to the Jewish State.

It followed an attack more than two weeks ago in which the airport was attacked, with missile fire targeting a control building and military buildings, without causing damage to the airport’s civilian runways.

An Israeli source told Elaph that relations between Russia and Israel have been deteriorating since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Moscow has begun to allow Iran to move towards southern Syria, in contravention of the agreement of the “80 kilometer” (50 mile) buffer zone along the Syria-Israel border that previously was in force between Russia and Israel.

In accordance with the pact, Russia agreed to remove Iran more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Israel’s border with Syria, thus blocking Iranian positions from approaching Israeli territory.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.