Ya'alon doubts new Syrian ceasefire will hold

Defense Minister skeptical as deal doesn't involve ISIS or Nusra and Russia will strike both, says Israeli strikes in Syria are accepted.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Moshe Ya'alon on USS Carney
Moshe Ya'alon on USS Carney
Matty Stern/US Embassy of Tel Aviv/Flash 90

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) said on Monday he was skeptical that a Syria ceasefire announced for February 27 by the United States and Russia will succeed.

He also said that both Washington and Moscow recognize Israeli freedom of action in Syria, where the Jewish state is reported to have carried out a series of raids over the past five years to prevent advanced weapons from being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"It is difficult for me to see a ceasefire while Daesh (the Islamic State group) and Nusra Front (the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate) are not part of the process and the Russians say they will strike both organizations," a statement said.

The Syria ceasefire is due to take effect this Saturday on February 27 at midnight Damascus time, according to a joint US-Russian statement released by the State Department in Washington. The attempt comes after a ceasefire announced for last Friday failed.

Since the conflict began in 2011, Israeli forces are reported to have attacked positions of President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his allies from the Iranian terror-proxy Hezbollah. Last December Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a rare statement of confirmation that Israel "is active in Syria."

"Israeli action is based on a single principle: self-defense," the statement from Ya'alon's spokesman said.

"It is well-known in both the United States and Russia, which is currently acting in Syria, that our freedom of action and defense of our interests continue."

The minister was speaking to an Israeli journalist aboard American warship the USS Carney at Haifa, northern Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.