The statement comes shortly after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps dismissed IDF claims that it had hit Iranian military sites in Syria over a week ago, including weapons depots and a training camp in the area of Damascus International Airport in response to a missile fired at the disputed Golan Heights.
Former Israel Air Force (IAF) Chief Amir Eshel said on Monday that “the only one who can get Iran out of Syria is Russia”, and that “there is no military capability of getting them [Iranians] out of” the Arab Republic, Haaretz reported.
Speaking at a panel at the National Security Research Institute, Eshel, who held his position until 2017, however, noted that “there’s a great chance that the Russians will do an about-face on us”.
While the ex-military serviceman debunked claims that Israel was on the brink of any war, he also stressed that “we must not delude ourselves, one could develop and we saw this with the shooting of the missile at the Hermon”.
Eshel was referencing an incident earlier this month in which a rocket was fired at the northern Golan Heights and was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system over the popular Mount Hermon ski resort.
The missile was launched following reports that Syrian air defences had repulsed an Israeli air raid on alleged Iranian targets in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport.
According to the former IAF chief, “the only alternative to the current situation is the virtually impossible option that the Americans will act on the global field, but I don’t think that will happen. I think that the Syrian also don’t want the Iranian powder keg in their backyard”.
The development follows a statement by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps spokesman, who dismissed Israeli claims about airstrikes on Iranian bases in Syria as unfounded.
“If the IRGC had had 12 casualties, there should have been funerals in Iran for them over the past 20 days”, the Mehr news agency cited him as saying.
The IDF stepped up its offensive against what it considers to be Iranian targets in Syria over a week ago, having conducted multiple airstrikes for two consecutive days, and disclosing the locations of Iran’s purported military facilities, including weapons depots, intelligence centre, and training camp in Syria.
Israel has consistently accused Iran of “entrenching itself” in Syria and attempting to establish a permanent military presence in the Arab Republic.
Tehran has vehemently denied the claims, insisting that its presence in the war-torn country is limited to sending military advisers at Damascus’s request to help fight terrorists.