Calls for restraint after Israeli raids on 'Iranians' in Syria

It cited rockets fired at Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria and a missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels at the Saudi capital Riyadh this week. The cross-border exchange gave way to a war of words.

"I have a message for Assad: Get rid of the Iranians, get rid of Qassem Soleimani and the Quds force, they are not helping you, they are only harming".

Analysts say Israel feels it has a green light from Washington to move more aggressively against Iran's presence in Syria, particularly after Mr Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Thus steps in Trump' America encouraging the U.S. to engage in a military conflict in Syria and against Iran, acting as a deterrence against Russian interference in Israel's grand plan for the region. Syria's foreign ministry said Israel's attacks are the "start of a new phase of aggression" against Syria and will do nothing but "increase tensions in the region".

If confirmed, it would be the first time Iran has sought to directly attack Israeli-controlled territory, aside from an alleged attempted drone assault in February.

The reported Iranian attack on Israeli positions in the Golan and Israel's bombardment of suspected Iranian posts in Syria appeared to be warnings by each side that it is willing to respond - but not necessarily that they want to plunge into war.

Iran has advisers and experts and has backed tens of thousands of militiamen who are fighting alongside Assad's forces in the civil war.

It also called on all regional actors to show restraint and avoid any escalation.

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The Security Council, deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and as of Friday morning no council member has asked for a meeting.

During the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran had close relations with Israel starting in the 1950s, including diplomatic representations and direct flights.

Israel's raids in Syria, which a monitor said killed 23 fighters, were among its largest military operations in recent years and the biggest such assault on Iranian targets, the Israeli military said.

Iran's hardliners are already mobilising against any concessions to Europe, with hundreds protesting in Tehran after Friday prayers, saying it was time to abandon the deal.

"Almost every single entity [in Syria], whether it's a Sunni militia or the Assad regime, or Hezbollah, or Iran, they're all collectively, and individually, speaking anti-Israel", said Alvi.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of 8,400 fighters and civilians left the area since May 3 and the last group left Thursday night.

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