Israel Destroyed Several Iranian Arms Convoys in Iraq

This photo released Sunday June 12, 2022 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a bulldozer work at a damaged runway of the Damascus International Airport, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Friday, in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)
This photo released Sunday June 12, 2022 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a bulldozer work at a damaged runway of the Damascus International Airport, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Friday, in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)
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Israel Destroyed Several Iranian Arms Convoys in Iraq

This photo released Sunday June 12, 2022 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a bulldozer work at a damaged runway of the Damascus International Airport, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Friday, in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)
This photo released Sunday June 12, 2022 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a bulldozer work at a damaged runway of the Damascus International Airport, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Friday, in Damascus, Syria. (SANA via AP)

Israel has carried out numerous strikes against truck convoys smuggling Iranian weapons to the Hezbollah party in Lebanon, revealed an Israeli source.

Israel would target the convoys as they were making their way from Iraq to Syria and carry out the strike in either country.

The announcement was made after Israel last week struck Damascus' old international airport, causing "significant" damage to infrastructure and rendered the main runway unserviceable until further notice.

The airport is located south of the capital Damascus where Syrian opposition activists say Iran-backed militiamen are active and have arms depots.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has for years been closely monitoring the transport of weapons to Hezbollah, continued the source.

At first, Israel used to target the weapons depots in Lebanon or Syria, but the military command has since ordered that the convoys be destroyed before they reach their destination, it continued.

Several Iranian convoys would make their way to Lebanon through Iraq and Syria and Israeli commandos would lie in wait to ambush them. Some convoys were destroyed in Iraq, others in Syria and some at the Lebanese border.

Security sources in Tel Aviv revealed that the Iranians then significantly reduced the transfer of weapons by land and have resorted to transporting them through air military cargo or even by sea.

Israeli strikes on Syria would often target these shipments as soon as they are unloaded at Syrian army depots.

Iran has recently started to deliver these shipments through passenger flights to Damascus' old airport. The shipments carry less quantities of weapons, but the arms are more sophisticated than before, according to Israel's Channel 12.

Israeli military officials had previously expressed their concern over the delivery of such sophisticated weapons, including modern drones and precision-guided missiles, to Lebanon.

Israel has therefore, intensified its operations against Iran because it believes such arms would create a strategic imbalance in the region.

Israel estimates that its latest attacks have destroyed 70 percent of arms shipments smuggled from Iran to Syria and Lebanon. The 30 percent that have reached their destination "pose a major threat," warned Israeli military officials.

Channel 12 reported that Israel had informed Russia of its intended strike on Damascus airport last week to avoid a clash.

Israeli media on Monday said last week's strike was not only a message to the Iranians - that Israel is watching them - but also a strong one to Bashar al-Assad's regime that it will pay a heavy price if it continues to allow Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria.



Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
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Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.

World leaders will join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a summit this weekend to explore ways of ending the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, but Russia isn't invited and the event will fall short of Kyiv's aim of isolating Moscow.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the June 15-16 meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

India, which has helped Moscow survive the shock of economic sanctions, is expected to send a delegation. Turkey and Hungary, which similarly maintain cordial ties with Russia, will be represented by their foreign ministers.

But despite months of intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, some others will not be there, most notably China, a key consumer of Russian oil and supplier of goods that help Moscow maintain its manufacturing base.

"This meeting is already a result," Zelenskiy said in Berlin on Tuesday, while acknowledging the challenge of maintaining international support as the war, now well into its third year, grinds on.

Ninety-two countries and eight organizations will attend, Switzerland said. Organizers preparing a joint statement have battled to strike a balance between condemning Russia's actions and securing as many participants as possible, diplomats say.

A final draft of the summit declaration refers to Russia's "war" against Ukraine, and also underlines commitment to the UN charter and respect for international law, according to two people familiar with the document.

Participants not in agreement with the declaration have until the end of Friday to opt out, the sources said.

The Swiss foreign ministry declined to comment.

Switzerland wants the summit to pave the way for a "future peace process" in which Russia takes part - and to determine which country could take on the next phase.

'FUTILE'

The idea of a summit was originally floated after Zelenskiy presented a 10-point peace plan in late 2022.

Ulrich Schmid, a political scientist and Eastern Europe expert at the University of St. Gallen, said the summit appeared to be "a mixed bag" so far, given the show of support from some quarters and China's absence.

"Then the question arises: is peace actually doable?" Schmid added. "As long as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is in power... it will be difficult."

Putin said on Friday that Russia would cease fire and enter peace talks if Ukraine dropped its NATO ambitions and withdrew its forces from four Ukrainian regions claimed by Moscow. Kyiv has repeatedly said its territorial integrity is non-negotiable.

Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, has described the idea of a summit to which it is not invited as "futile".

Moscow casts its "special military operation" in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West say this is nonsense and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Given such entrenched differences, the summit will focus on parts of Zelenskiy's plan broad enough to be palatable to most, if not all, participants. These include the need to guarantee food security, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation, prisoner exchanges, and the return of children, officials said.

Meanwhile, China, along with Brazil, is pushing a separate peace plan for Ukraine that calls for the participation of both warring parties. Moscow has voiced its support for Beijing's efforts to end the conflict.

Kyiv has not hidden its frustration at China's decision to skip the Swiss summit. Zelenskiy even accused Beijing of helping Russia to disrupt it, an extraordinary outburst against a global superpower with unrivalled influence over Moscow.

On the battlefield, the gathering comes at a difficult time for Ukraine. Russian troops, who control around 18% of Ukrainian territory, are advancing in the east in a war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, left villages, towns and cities in ruins and uprooted millions.