Israel’s military once again attacked Syria territory and killed three Syrians, further escalating tensions between the two countries.
It was on this Friday night that Israeli surface-to-surface missiles hit areas in the Golan Heights and targeted southern parts of the Syrian capital Damascus. The attacks left three members of Syria’s air defense killed and four others badly injured.
Israel has lately been intensifying its attacks against Syria and Iran-backed groups in this country. before Friday’s strike, Israel did an air attack on May 13 in which five people were killed in central Syria.
Also back on April 27 and in yet another near Damascus strike, Israel killed 10 Syrian combatants. Among the casualties were six Syrian nationals. This was in fact the deadliest raid since the beginning of 2022.
In general, Syria has been dealing with three simultaneously active enemies for more than 10 years: Israel in the south, US forces in the east and northeast, and Turkey, which has occupied Idlib.
This multi-front war has made the Syrian military weak and inefficient in confronting Israel. Israel per se has been mounting its attacks against Syria and what it calls Iranian-linked targets in this war-stricken country.
Since the civil war started in Syria back in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes there. It has targeted government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.
Russia against Israel?
What was quite surprising about Israel’s airstrike against Syria on May 13 was that in reaction to the attack, Russia launched missiles on Israeli jets. The incident marked the first time that an Israeli strike has met with a harsh and alarming reaction from the part of the Russian anti-aircraft systems.
This has also risen worries about the fact that Russia may want to assert a more aggressive stance in Syria and make up for its inactiveness in the region due to the war in Ukraine; “It’s quite obvious that the Russians don’t like the fact that we are operating in Syria,” said Alon Ben-David, Channel 13 Defense Correspondent who broke the story. “My interpretation is that the Russians are saying ‘you are walking on thin ice. Be careful, we are running out of patience,” he also added.
Also, Nicholas Heras of the Newlines Institute explained in this regard that Russia’s missile in Syria was intended to ensure that Israel maintains neutrality.
“Russia is sending a strong signal to Israel that Jerusalem must be measured in its support for Ukraine or face consequences in Syria,” Heras said: “Russia can impose costs on Israel’s freedom of action against Iran in Syria…Russia is also sending a broader message to the international community that it is not relinquishing its strategic position in Syria.” He also noted.
Israel is acutely aware of the risks of escalation in Syria and is making diplomatic overtures to Russian counterparts in an effort to reduce tensions following the recent incident.
Regarding Friday’s attack, the Israeli military declined to comment on anything. Israel rarely confirms its destabilizing activities inside Syria and tries to maintain a policy of ambiguity over its operations in this country. It always alleges to hit only targets that are the center of anti-Israeli plots and activities.