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Netanyahu Says Iran Plans to Send 100,000 Shia Fighters to 'Colonize' Syria

© REUTERS / Omar SanadikiA Syrian national flag hangs in a damaged neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria
A Syrian national flag hangs in a damaged neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria - Sputnik International
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Iran intended to send 100,000 Shia fighters to Syria in an effort to "colonize" the country.

"As part of Iran’s plans of conquest and colonization of Syria, they want to bring in as many as 100,000 Shias, Shia fighters… not Iranians, under Iranian command," Netanyahu said during a lunch with NATO ambassadors in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu stressed that this move might escalate tensions in the region and would lead to the emergence of new terrorist groups born out of Daesh and Al Qaeda.

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The Israeli prime minister noted that the potential confrontation would affect Europe, as it would become the destination for those fleeing the hostilities, if they were to begin. He also stressed that Israel was currently the only state that was trying to prevent this from happening.

"Where will the spillover happen? In Europe. Where will the human flow go? To Europe. Who is preventing it right now? Israel? Right now, Israel alone. But I maintain that this is a common interest that we have in NATO," Netanyahu said.

Israel regards Iran as its number one threat, citing its curtailed but existing nuclear program, hostile rhetoric, and support offered to anti-Israel forces throughout the Middle East.

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