A top Syrian official indulged in a bellicose warning to Israel over attacks on oil tankers heading to Syria.
“There should be deterrence to Israeli attacks on ships. The Israeli governments and arrogant Israeli leaders must understand that these attacks cannot continue with Israel not paying a price,” Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said during an interview with Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV, according to Newsweek.
Last month, The Associated Press reported that Syria’s oil ministry said a fire erupted on a tanker. The ministry voiced suspicions that the tanker was targeted by a drone attack.
Mekdad said that oil tankers coming to Syria are now under Russian protection, Newsweek reported.
Syria has oil resources, but the government does not control those parts of the war-torn country. Syria’s oil is mostly supplied by Iran.
“I don’t think Israel is interested in hitting each and every target belonging to Iranian-led forces. It’s not the issue. We are trying to hit targets with a strategic impact,” Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, a former director-general of Israeli’s strategic affairs ministry, said.
“We want to prevent Iran turning Syria into a Iranian base close to Israel that may bring a drastic strategic change in the situation … That’s why we keep pounding Iranian bases so they don’t take control of the country,” Kuperwasser said.
Although Mekdad did not offer any proof of his claim that Israel was also taking its campaign against Syria to the seas, a shadowy game of attacks on ships has been taking place between Iran and Israel.
In March, an Israeli cargo ship was hit by a missile while sailing in the Gulf of Oman. Iran was blamed for the attack, which injured no one.
A similar attack took place in February, according to Haaretz.
Iranian Islamic terrorism
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Damaged Israeli cargo ship HELIOS RAY has arrived at Dubai two days after it was attacked by Islamic Iranian IRGC terrorist organization.
The Israeli cargo ship will be repaired in Dubai, United Arab Emirates pic.twitter.com/fbBRnP5OHh
— Anti-terrorism (@Vladimi81231035) February 28, 2021
But the attacks have not been one-sided. Israel is suspected of attacking several dozen Iranian oil tankers, and an Iranian container ship was damaged in an explosive attack in the Mediterranean Sea in March.
Syrian FM Blames Israel For Attacks on Oil Tankers
A report from The Wall Street Journal in March said since 2019, Israel had attacked about a dozen tankers that were bound for Syria
by Dave DeCamp@DecampDave #Syria #Israel #Oilhttps://t.co/MGT9xRDvcf pic.twitter.com/AXr7GZM06A
— Play the Man Podcast (@PlayTheManPod) May 24, 2021
The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has used mines and similar weapons against Iranian vessels in attacks that damaged but did not sink the tankers.
In further reporting on Israel’s efforts against Iran, Haaretz noted, “It’s likely that in a large number of the other incidents, quiet acts of sabotage were carried out that damaged critical functions of the ships without this entailing the detonation of a bomb or the firing of a missile. In some cases ships were destroyed beyond repair, and the Iranians had to tow them back to the home port.”
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