Syria continues to experience Israeli missile attacks, the latest taking place yesterday. Iranian and Syrian military targets were hit, resulting in the death of two people and injury to a number of others.
This latest attack, the second in a week and the ninth since April, is according to some commentators, part of a message Israel wants to send to various parties. Israel said the attack was meant to avenge the firing of rockets by Iranian Quds forces based in Syria against Israeli territory the day before.
According to Reuters, Syrian air defences succeeded in destroying most of the Israeli missiles fired over the capital Damascus before they reached their targets. These, according to Israel, were sites where Iran is seeking to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, thus affecting Israel’s national security. Air strikes were also directed against the advanced weapon shipments to the Lebanese militia Hezbollah which is supported by Iran.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Avichay Adraee noted that Tuesday’s missile attack against Israel was excellent proof of the Iranian presence in Syria.
“Yesterday's Iranian attack on Israeli territory by firing missiles ... is the best proof of Iran's real cause in Syria. The Iranian position poses a threat to Israel's security, stability in the region, and the Syrian regime,” said Adraee.
The Israeli Air Force refrained from hitting Syria’s Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft batteries due to the presence of Russian troops in their neighbourhood. Military and strategic analyst Fayez Al-Duweiri confirmed that Israel did not target the S-300 missiles in its attacks as there was ‘a state of ambiguity over the possibility of activating them’.
Al-Duweiri believes that the Israeli attack against Iranian targets inside Syria delivers three messages. The first is to closely follow up on the presence of both the Iranians and the Hezbollah group in Syria. “Israel has fired two rockets in the region of Damascus airport, whereas the remaining rockets were showered at Al-Keswa camp, which is 15 kilometres away, south of Damascus. The camp witnessed four heavy air strikes as Israel claims it has weapon warehouses,” said Al-Duweiri.
The second, according to Al-Duweiri, is that Israel will see another round of elections next April, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to send a message to the Israeli people. “Netanyahu wants to tell them indirectly that he is a trustworthy man, as he is the only one who is capable of preserving Israel’s domestic peace, security and stability,” explained Al-Duweiri.
The third message was about relations with Russia, as Al-Duweiri noted that Israeli airstrikes against Syria came just 48 hours after a Russian military delegation had left Tel-Aviv. After their departure, the Israelis immediately announced that their relations were back on track and mutual coordination has been re-established.
However, the Syrian news agency SANA reported that the Russian Foreign Affairs ministry condemned Israel’s aggression over Syria and described it as a violation of international law. The agency also reported that Syrian air defences thwarted an intensive Israeli rocket assault targeting the outskirts of Damascus, with Syrian forces destroying most of the missiles before they reached their targets.