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Mattis Defends Israeli Actions on Border

Analysts weigh in on risks and highlights

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13 Feb 2018 (All day)
Mattis Defends Israeli Actions on Border
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke with journalists on Monday evening, responding to a question about the events on Israel’s northern border over the weekend by declaring that "when Syria, which has made no... excuse for what they're doing alongside Iran, when they are providing throughout for Iran to give weapons, including more sophisticated weapons, to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Israel has an absolute right to defend themselves. If you live in the region, there's no doubt what Iran is doing. They don't have to wait until their citizens are dying under attack before they actually address that issue."

Also on Monday, reports emerged that Russian combatants were among those killed in recent air strikes made by US aircraft amidst fierce battles in Syria’s northwest. Statements by Kremlin officials, however, indicates the slain fighters were contractors for private military companies, not government troops.

Meanwhile, the UN issued a statement on Monday lamenting the apparent deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Syria, noting that active fighting between a wide variety of state and non-state actors is actually intensifying, not winding down, as had been hoped as recently as last month.

"The military escalation throughout Syria, including the events we have seen on the Israeli border over the weekend, is deeply worrying. It could indeed lead to a dangerous spillover," a spokeswoman for the European Commission said on Monday. 

Here is a video showing what Israel is doing to help Syrian civilians caught up in the fighting



Here is a video giving some analysis of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean

 

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