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June 19, 2024

Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria After Rocket Fire

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Feb 2, 2024

Israel’s military said it carried out air strikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard targets near Damascus on Friday, after a rocket was fired from Syria towards Israel the day before. The strikes killed several Iranian military advisers and damaged Iranian facilities near the Syrian capital.

Rocket Fire from Syria Prompts Israeli Response

On Thursday afternoon, air raid sirens sounded in northern Israel as a rocket was fired from Syria toward Israeli territory. The projectile landed in an open area and no damage or injuries resulted. In response, Israeli jets and attack helicopters struck several targets near Damascus belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the early hours of Friday morning.

According to an Israeli military spokesperson, the sites targeted were used as Iranian bases of operation in Syria. “We will not tolerate any attack on Israeli civilians or territory,” the spokesperson said. “Iran’s continued military entrenchment in Syria poses a threat, and we will continue to strike back hard against any aggression.”

Iranian Military Advisers Reported Killed

Iranian state media reported that the Israeli strikes killed two IRGC advisers stationed at a military advisory center near Damascus International Airport. Several other Iranians were also injured in the attack, according to reports.

The advisers were identified as Col. Mehdi Mujahidi and Capt. Nader Qaderi, both high-ranking officers stationed in Syria as part of Iran’s ongoing military support for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. Their deaths represent another blow to Iran’s military leadership and advisory role in Syria amid Israel’s continuing air campaign.

Over the past year, Israeli strikes have periodically targeted Iranian weapons shipments and military personnel stationed in Syria in an effort to thwart Iran’s military entrenchment along Israel’s northern border.

Name Role
Col. Mehdi Mujahidi IRGC military adviser
Capt. Nader Qaderi IRGC military adviser

Syria Warns of “Dangerous Consequences”

In response to the Israeli strikes, Syria’s foreign ministry warned of “dangerous consequences of this aggressive policy that cannot be silenced by Syria’s restraint.” Syrian air defenses were activated during the attack, with some missiles intercepted according to Syrian state media reports.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitoring group, said the strikes targeted Iranian positions and weapon depots near Damascus that were being used to transfer weapons to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Russian government, which maintains a significant military presence in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, warned Israel against further regional destabilization. According to the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, “These provocative acts exacerbate tensions and could have dangerous consequences for stability in the region.”

Russia and Iran have supported Assad against rebel groups during the Syrian conflict, while Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria aimed at degrading Iran’s military capabilities and blocking weapons transfers to Iranian proxy Hezbollah. Israel and Russia have a deconfliction mechanism to avoid clashing in Syrian airspace.

Broader Context of Israel-Iran Tensions

The latest strikes come against the backdrop of a shadow war between Israel and Iran playing out across the region. Israel views Iran’s ongoing military presence in Syria as an intolerable threat given Iran’s hostile posture, nuclear ambitions and support for anti-Israel militant groups like Hezbollah.

In recent years, Israel has carried out repeated strikes in Syria to degrade Iran’s military infrastructure and constrain its abilities to transfer weapons. However, Iran has continued boosting its presence in Syria by recruiting Shiite militias and deploying IRGC advisers to bolster Assad’s forces.

The Israel-Iran rivalry is also evident in other theaters. In recent months, Israel has struck dozens of Iranian weapons shipments transiting Iraq and Syria en route to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Meanwhile, Iran provides support to militant groups in Gaza that periodically launch rockets at Israeli territory.

Some analysts warn that the frequency of attacks and counterattacks raises the risk of a wider, regional conflagration. However, neither Iran nor Israel appears to seek an all-out confrontation at this time. Nonetheless, localized clashes and kinetic attacks will likely continue as Iran seeks to shore up Assad while Israel pushes back forcefully against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Outlook: Further Israeli Pushback Expected

In the coming weeks and months, Israel is likely to sustain an aggressive air campaign targeting the IRGC and Iran-backed militias operating in Syria. Strikes will likely focus on bases near Damascus International Airport used as hubs for transporting weapons from Iran to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Weapons caches and missile assembly facilities in Syria will also likely be targeted.

To mitigate risks and retaliatory attacks, Israel will probably coordinate closely with Russia to avoid inadvertent clashes. It will also strengthen missile defense systems in northern Israel while maintaining vigilance against potential Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon.

However, fundamentally altering Iran’s posture in Syria likely remains beyond Israeli military capabilities at this time. Absent a shift in Iran’s strategic calculus, Israel’s strikes likely can only achieve a containment effect rather than comprehensively rolling back Iran’s military presence across Syria. Nonetheless, crippling Iran’s primary conduit for transferring weapons to Hezbollah could substantially undermine the deadliest threat along Israel’s borders in Lebanon.

Overall the Israeli intervention has achieved its likely aims – to inflict losses on Iranian forces and infrastructure in Syria as punishment and deterrence against future attacks on Israel. Nonetheless, the long simmering Israel-Iran shadow war in Syria shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Periodic eruptions of clashes and retaliatory strikes are likely to continue in 2024.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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