Israel received support in its clash with Syria from unexpected quarters on Sunday, as a former leader in al-Qaeda’s Syrian forces said he welcomed the IDF’s robust retaliation, The Times of Israel reported.
“We welcome any Israeli aerial or naval bombardment against the [Syrian] regime and Iran in Syria. We urge them to do more. And we say to Israel: Your silence over Iran’s intervention in Syria will turn against you. It’s inevitable. Act with haste to uproot them,” Saleh Al-Hamwi wrote on Twitter.
Hamwi is known as a founder of the Nusra Front in 2012. He broke with Nusra in 2015, and subsequently affiliated himself with the hardline Islamist group Ahrar il-Sham.
He said that Iranians dispatched the drone into Israeli airspace, not for surveillance or attack, but to draw Israeli planes into the range of anti-aircraft batteries UAV’s base, which was in fact one of the IAF’s targets.
“[Iran] sent a drone and penetrated Israeli airspace with the prior knowledge that Israel would respond and bomb the launch site of the UAV,” he tweeted.
“A decision was made in advance to bring down any Israeli fighter plane that would bomb the airport” using the Russian-made defense system, Hamwi added.