Israel strikes Syrian army positions in retaliatory attack

A picture taken on March 5, 2020 shows an explosion following Russian air strikes on the village of al-Bara in the southern part of Syria's northwestern province of Idlib. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 July 2020

Israel strikes Syrian army positions in retaliatory attack

  • The strike came a few hours after the Israeli military said blasts were heard from the Syrian-held area of the Golan Heights
  • Israel sees the presence of Hezbollah and its ally Iran in Syria as a strategic threat

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military on Friday said its helicopters struck Syrian army targets in response to mortars fired toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
“A number of targets were struck, including SAF observation posts and intelligence collection systems located in SAF bases,” the military said in a statement, referring to the Syrian Armed Forces.
Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying Israeli helicopters targeted three outposts in Syria’s southern Quneitra area with anti-tank guided missiles, causing two injuries and some forest fires.
The strike came a few hours after the Israeli military said blasts were heard from the Syrian-held area of the Golan Heights. No casualties were reported but a building and an Israeli vehicle were damaged, it said.
Tension rose this week along the Israel-Syria frontier after a fighter of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah was killed in an apparent Israeli strike on the edge of Damascus on Monday.
The Israeli military said it has since boosted its forces on its northern front, where Israel borders Lebanon and Syria.
Following the killing of two Hezbollah members in Damascus last August, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, vowed it would respond if Israel killed any more of its fighters in the country.
Hezbollah has deployed fighters in Syria as part of Iranian-backed efforts to support President Bashar Assad in a conflict that spiralled out of protests against his rule in 2011.
Israel sees the presence of Hezbollah and its ally Iran in Syria as a strategic threat and has mounted hundreds of raids on Iranian-linked targets there. It captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 30 October 2020

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”