US intel chief: Iran will likely strike back if Israel keeps attacking in Syria
“We assess that Iran seeks to avoid a major armed conflict with Israel. However, Israeli strikes that result in Iranian casualties increase the likelihood of Iranian conventional retaliation against Israel,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Coats was presenting the views of the US Intelligence Community — made up of 16 American intelligence services — to the congressional committee as part of the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment.
This analysis by US intelligence services echoed similar concerns voiced within Israel about the increasing likelihood of an Iranian response to the Israel Defense Forces’ regular strikes in Syria.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate Iran’s efforts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, fearing it will serve as another front from which the Islamic Republic can threaten the Jewish state.
In order to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria, the IDF has conducted hundreds of strikes against Tehran’s forces in the country, Israeli officials have said.
According to the assessments of the US intelligence services, these air raids, however, have not deterred Iran.
“Iran continues to pursue permanent military bases and economic deals in Syria and probably wants to maintain a network of Shia foreign fighters there despite Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Syria,” Coats said.
In general, the Israeli strikes have focused on destroying Iranian infrastructure in Syria — bases, vehicles and weapons — and not personnel, former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot said in an interview shortly before the end of his tenure.
Read More: Times of Israel
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