According to reports, Israeli airstrikes targeted south Damascus Wednesday. This caused material damage and reflected a wider trend in what Syria regards as a “syrian” trend. “Israeli aggression”It is strongly discouraged. What does Israel want to accomplish with these strikes?
Israel began firing surface-to–surface missiles around 11.35pm local time “from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the vicinity of Zakiya town,” according to Syrian state media. Syrian opposition media claimed at the time that an Iranian-backed militia had attacked a Syrian military base.
It was the third Israeli airstrike in the month. Last week’s attack had occurred only a week before. The Lebanese Hezbollah weapons were reportedly the target of Israeli airstrikes on January 31 near Damascus.
Wednesday’s airstrikes came shortly after a speech delivered earlier that day by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in which he addressed the Israeli attacks. According to him, his organization has the capability “to transform our thousands of rockets into precision-guided missiles”Through the cooperation “experts from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”Nasrallah said in his Televised Address that Hezbollah was developing precision missiles. “drones in Lebanon for a long time,”Jokingly add “whoever wants to buy them, submit an order.”
Israel was also threatened with Nasrallah “another Ansariya,”This is the name of a 1997 Hezbollah operation that saw 12 Israeli soldiers trying to set off explosives in Lebanon. Nasrallah referred to several known encounters between Israel and Hezbollah, and called them “Nasrallah’s”. “the battles in between wars,”He said that “when it comes to the actual implementation of operations, they need to bring in commandos, generals, soldiers, elite groups…they bring them from the sea,” he stated, warning Israel that “we are ready for them.”
According to an alleged insider source found through journalist Laith Marouf, Nasrallah’s speech referred to a thwarted Israeli special forces operation, describing it but refraining from announcing it. It was the “resistance source”The claimants, who did not wish security to be revealed, claimed that on February 2, Israeli special forces teams arrived in Zouk Mosbeh (18km north of Beirut), Jounieh (20km north of Beirut), with the intention of reaching beachfront safehouses. These details could not independently be verified.
“They [the Israeli forces] had activated their local network of agents…they had two operations running simultaneously, because the Israeli modus operandi is that they have one operation to distract from the other, which would go after the target. Alternatively the second team could complete the operation if the other fails,”According to the source.
“The communications opened up between the teams and their agents, revealing the agents and so they were captured [by Hezbollah], these were not those in the safe houses but those who were on the ground preparing for the action against the targets,”According to the source, When I inquired if any of the captured men were Israeli citizens, the source said that they only arrested Lebanese agents. Hezbollah only found one team, and was forced to choose between killing them or capturing them. However, if the other team wasn’t located, this could have proved costly. What then allegedly occurred, was that Hezbollah forces allowed for the Israelis to withdraw to sea, after the teams’ cover was blown, in order to avert the possibility of war between the two sides. “They [the Israelis] thought that they had located a manufacturing site for either missiles or drones,”Laith Marouf claimed this to be the Israeli target for special forces.
Beyond the tensions between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israel is also the Israeli fixation on cementing its presence in the Golan Heights, internationally recognised as an occupied territory belonging to Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking at the ‘Makor Rishon Golan Conference’ on October 11, said that his government intended to quadruple the Israeli settler population in the area. In December, Israel approved a $317 million plan to double the settler population. Since October, it has launched over 10 known attacks on Syria, allegedly assassinated an ex-member of the Syrian parliament, and bombarded the civilian port of Latakia twice, directly targeting Syria’s air defense systems, weapons storage facilities, and killing soldiers in the process.
Although the war in Syria has come to a somewhat temporary halt, giving time for the Syrian government to attempt to normalize ties throughout the region and reintegrate itself into the Arab League, Israel is making it clear that, without concessions, little will return to normal.
The June 2015 statement spoke about the creation of a “safe zone”The buffer-zone (or buffer-zone) between the two countries was established to safeguard the Druze community who primarily reside in or near the Syrian province Sweida. Israel even began forming strong relations with Druze opposition groups in southern Syria to achieve this aim. According to an investigation by The Intercept, in early 2018 Israel was at stage two of implementing a buffer zone – which was to be set up in southern Syria – with the intention of solidifying its hold on the Golan Heights. This plan fell apart when ISIS militants and Syrian opposition groups were defeated. The Syrian government took control of the South in an offensive that began in July 2018.
Rare anti-Syrian government demonstrations erupted last week in Sweida province over collapsing living conditions and corruption. These were preceded by the induction of the Syrian al-Liwa Party (a sectarian Druze political party) attached to the Counter-Terrorism Force military enitity.
Al-Monitor spoke to Nowras Azziz, a Sweida journalist who is now living in France. “Abo Kheer [Syrian al-Liwa Party leader]The had reached out to the [US-led international]Al-Tanf’s coalition force in the second half 2020. His plan for Suwayda is explained by his forces [province]. Abu Kheer told the force that the next steps would be to declare total control over the eastern villages [of Suwayda] and removing any presence of the Syrian regime or Iran in that area.”This, if true indicates how the group aligns itself with Israel’s goals. There is no proof that Israel is involved with the Syrian al-Liwa Party but, given its connection to the US, it’s likely that the two groups’ alignment on strategy is not simply chance.
Israel seeks the same thing: to weaken Damascus as Iran, and to disrupt movement of Iran-aligned terrorist armed groups in Syria. It also tries to destroy the weapons of such groups. Although Hezbollah claims it is not affected by Israeli airstrikes, the Syrian government is most certainly being made to pay a price by Tel Aviv, both for threatening its presence in the Golan Heights and for facilitating the presence of Hezbollah and Iran – real strategic threats to Israel – in the country. Although things have calmed down in Syria, Israel will not let go of its desire to make concessions to President Bashar Al-Assad. This is also a way for Tehran and Hezbollah to be informed.
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