Israeli media worried Iran could take place of Russian troops in Syria

The Times of Israel, an Israeli media outlet, called the allegedly ongoing withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, first reported by the Moscow Times last week, a “worrying development for Israel”, fearing that the power vacuum could be filled by Israel’s nemesis — Iran.

Following last week’s media report by the Moscow Times that Russia had begun pulling out its troops from Syria, the Times of Israel published an article in which it suggested the gaps in Syria’s security sector left by Moscow could be mended by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah.

Being a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, the IRGC, according to the Iranian constitution, is intended to protect the country's Islamic republic political system. The IRGC has been used throughout history as the Islamic republic’s iron fist crashing down on the Ayatollahs’ enemies.

The Israeli media outlet suggested that the “now-abandoned bases have been transferred to Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps, as well as the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.”

The Times of Israel also quoted Middle East pundit Ehud Ya’ari’s statement for Israel’s Channel 12 news, saying that “without Russian influence in Damascus and on the ground, Tehran could more easily push its units into Syria, as well as influence the Assad regime.”

“Israel has no way of truly influencing the considerations of the Russian deployment in Syria,” Mr Ya’ari said. “However, as they lower their military presence in this country, Iran’s growing grip in the region is a development to worry about. It is worth remembering that Russia, even when cooperating with Iran in Syria, has always sought to limit and shrink Iran’s foothold there and the depth of Iran’s infiltration of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s army and security services.”

Russian authorities said that more than 63,000 Russian military personnel had been deployed to Syria.

Last week the Moscow Times also reported that the goal behind the Russian military’s withdrawal from Syria was to bolster Russia’s forces in Ukraine.