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Iran’s army chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, looks into binoculars as he visits other senior officers from the Iranian military in the Syrian province of Aleppo, Oct. 20, 2017 (Syrian Central Military Media via AP).

As Iranian Influence Grows in Syria, Little Is Quiet on Israel’s Northern Front

Friday, Oct. 27, 2017

After a few years in which the threats to Israel’s security had eased somewhat, recent events have taken a turn for the worse. To its north, Israel faces a joint Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis that is growing more powerful and confident, as President Bashar al-Assad re-establishes control in Syria backed by a strong Russian presence.

Assad, whose regime has waged a brutal six-year civil war that has killed half a million Syrians and displaced some two-thirds of the country’s population, has successfully withstood all internal and external pressures, including American demands that he step down, and is now securely ensconced in power in Damascus. The deployment of just a limited number of Russian aircraft to Syria three years ago, at virtually no cost in Russian lives—coming on top of efforts by Iran and Hezbollah to prop up the regime—effectively turned the tide of battle and saved Assad from defeat. In so doing, Russia exposed the Obama administration’s specious warnings of a Syrian “quagmire” that no military intervention—even a limited one, such as establishing no-fly zones—could resolve. Syria, in effect, has become a highly unusual hybrid, both a Russian client state and Iranian forward outpost. ...

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