Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has threatened confrontation with Israel over Syria’s conflict.
Nasrallah spoke on Monday about last week’s Israeli attacks on regime and Iranian targets across the country, which Israel said was in response to the firing of 20 rockets at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Israeli officials said the firing of the rockets — none of which landed in Israeli territory or caused casualties — was overseen by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Nasrallah claimed in a televised speech that 55 rockets had been fired at the Golan Heights: “The message delivered…is that neither the Syrian leadership, nor the Syrian army, nor the Syrian people, nor the allies of Syria will allow Syria to remain exposed to Israeli attacks and they are ready to go to the furthest extent.”
He said that while Israel had tried to disguise the scale of the attack, it had set the stage for “an entirely new phase” of the conflict:
If you thought that you could kill and bomb without receiving a response, then you are wrong and misguided, and the response will be in the appropriate form and time….[If you cross] red lines…[the] next bombardment will be in the heart of occupied Palestine.
Israel has periodically carried out airstrikes against regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets, hoping to disrupt the supply of missiles and weapons to the Lebanese organization and to restrict Iran’s military presence propping up the Assad regime.
The prospect of a confrontation on the ground has risen because of the pro-Assad recapture of the East Ghouta area near Damascus and the regime’s promise of an offensive against opposition-held territory in southern Syria on the Jordanian border and near the Golan Heights. Such an offensive would need Iranian-led militia and Hezbollah fighters to succeed.
However, Russia — which has had a de facto arrangement for military cooperation with Israel since September 2015 — implicitly checked the regime last week by accepting the Israeli strikes and then saying that it will not deliver S-300 air defense systems to Damascus.