Syria

Scoop: Netanyahu tells Greece, Cyprus that Trump will keep heat on Turkey

Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus during meetings in Jerusalem last month that he doesn't see President Trump reducing the pressure on Turkey over the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson or an improvement in U.S.-Turkey relations in the near future, Israeli officials and Western diplomats told me.

Why it matters: Greece and Cyprus are two of Turkey's main adversaries. Israel has its own crisis with Turkey after the government in Ankara asked the Israeli ambassador to leave the country over violence in Gaza. And Netanyahu played a role in Trump's efforts to release Brunson when he agreed to Trump's request to release a Turkish citizen detained in Israel. As a result of the deal, which didn't lead to Brunson's release and led to U.S. sanctions against Turkey, Netanyahu has good knowledge of Trump's thinking on the issue.

Expert Voices

With Syria strike, Iran continues ramping up ballistic missile use

Zulfiqar and Qiam ballistic missiles, targeting Syria, are launched by Irans Revolutionary Guard in Kermanshah, Iran on October 01, 2018.
Ballistic missiles launching toward Syria, in Kermanshah, Iran, on Oct. 1. Photo: SepahNews/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired six ballistic missiles into eastern Syria on Monday. The strike — whose efficacy is debatable — was in response to a Sept. 22 terrorist attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran. Both the Islamic State, or ISIS, and a local Arab resistance group took responsibility for the attack.

Why it matters: The missile strike — allegedly coupled with bombardments from unmanned aerial vehicles — targeted the town of Hajin, near the Iraqi border. Likely because of the proximity of the strike to U.S. and coalition forces in the region fighting ISIS, a U.S. military official reportedly called the strikes, “reckless, unsafe and escalatory.” According to the spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Iran also did not issue advance warning.