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Turkey opened a new front in Syria's almost 7-year-old war on January 20, launching an offensive against the US -backed Syrian Kurdish militia in the northwestern enclave of Afrin.

The events brings to the fore an escalation of tensions that are decades old, and the standoff marked a first between the two countries since 1982.

But Israel's increasing involvement is playing into the hands of Iran.

Whatever the case, to suggest that the drone, whatever its providence, wherever its final demise, was the spark to conflagration is to ignore the 100 bombings or so Israel has acknowledged carrying out in Syria since 2011, or those that go back long before Syria's own conflict began.

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In the Israeli attack, one of its F16 jets was shot down by intense anti-aircraft missile fire.

Iran unveiled the Mohajer 6 drone, which is "equipped with the smart Qa'em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and destroy the target", Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said in a speech around the anniversary of the the Islamic Revolution. "We are very pleased with the backing the U.S. has given the State of Israel". The drone was launched from the Tiyas military airbase-also known as the T-4 airbase, near Palmyra, Syria-journeyed through Jordanian airspace, and was shot down by the Israeli air force over Israeli territory, in order to be able to study it.

Has President Trump thought through where we are going with this deepening commitment in Syria, where we have only 2,000 troops and no allies but the Kurds, while on the other side is the Syrian army, Hezbollah, Russia and Iran, and Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan?

While Israel has once again routinely blamed the entire episode on the Iranians, Blumenthal believes Damascus might have finally lost its patience over constant violations of its sovereignty and the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

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On Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the success of the strikes, but made no mention of future operations. President Vladimir Putin has not officially confirmed this to his country. "We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us". "We support Israel's right to defend itself against any incursions into its territory".

What Tehran wants is bases in Syria from where it can threaten Israel - and Israel knows this. It is true that Iran is more influent than ever in the region thanks to the Assad regime; and that's why Israel has targeted Assad's forces and the Iranians at the same time. But earlier this year, US officials confirmed Washington's intention to keep troops indefinitely in northern Syria even after the defeat of IS. Both Turkey and Iran are anxious due to their Kurdish minorities, which have argued for independence in decades past. The people of Iran have already voiced their opposition to war in Syria, and any expansion is a possible threat to the Khamenei regime in Tehran, as more money is directed toward it, instead of to the dire economic situation in the country.

He promised Israel would respond if the Islamic Republic crossed its "red lines" after a series of clashes.

"By Allah's favor and grace, nothing called the Zionist regime will exist by 25 years from now".

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But as IS shrinks, the estimated 2,000 USA troops stationed in Syria find themselves caught in a highly unpredictable and shifting battlefield, as demonstrated by an unexpected attack by pro-Assad fighters on US -backed forces who were accompanied by USA advisers in Deir el-Zour. Russian Federation is still bombing areas around Damascus not controlled by the regime, which activists say is causing scores of civilian deaths and many people are trapped without adequate food or medical care.


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