The senior assistant to Iran's foreign minister warned Israel on Sunday not to cross any "red lines" in Syria, the Sputnik news agency has reported. Ali Asghar Khaji made his comments in relation to Israel's air strikes on sites belonging to Iran and its ally Hezbollah in Syria.
"The nature of the Zionist entity since its inception is hostile and repressive in the region; this has been its behaviour against the Palestinian people and against neighbouring countries," said Khaji. He added that while the Syrian government fights terrorism, Israel helps the terrorists. "The goal of our presence in Syria is to combat Daesh and terrorist entities, but if the Zionist entity wants to cross the red lines, it will face a decisive response and regret its actions."
Asked about Tehran's plans to withdraw its forces from Syria, Khaji said that his country has not received any messages demanding that its forces should leave Syria.
"We are there at the Syrian government's request, and this presence will continue as long as the Syrian people and government want it," he insisted. "Those who have to leave Syria are those who came illegally and occupied its lands. These are the ones who have to leave Syrian land."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported recently that Israel had targeted Syrian territory nearly 40 times last year. Israeli strikes killed more than 200 Iranian soldiers and allied militiamen, as well as members of the Syrian regime forces.