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Why Would Israel Strike Near the Heart of Damascus?

12-02-2016
Israel Air Force F-15 Eagle, Courtesy GPO, Haim Zach
Israel Air Force F-15 Eagle, Courtesy GPO, Haim Zach

JERUSALEM, Israel – In two separate sorties, Israeli fighter jets targeted a Syrian military convoy on the Damascus-Beirut highway and a weapons warehouse outside Damascus overnight Wednesday, the London-based Rai al-Youm reported.

If the report proves accurate, it won't be the first time Israel has prevented weapons transfers to Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese-based terror proxy, and it probably won't be the last.

Israel has consistently stated it will not allow advanced weapons systems to be delivered to Hezbollah, including but not limited to long-range missiles and air defense systems.

Israel rarely owns up publicly to the airstrikes. For the most part, there's no need to. The Syrians (and Iranians) know who's responsible. But last April, during a visit to the northern border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an exception.

"We are proud that in the stormy and volatile Middle East we were able to maintain relative calm and relative safety in Israel," Netanyahu said publicly.

"We act when we should act, including here, across the border, in dozens of attacks, to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring game-changing weaponry," he said. "This is our country, and we need to defend it; nobody else will defend it except us."

The latest airstrikes took place days after ISIS terrorists opened fire on Givati Brigade soldiers patrolling the Golan Heights from a heavy machine gun mounted on a truck, followed by mortar shell attacks. In response, Israel targeted the vehicle, killing the four insurgents in the truck.

Not surprisingly, Syria blamed Israel for Wednesday's airstrikes.

"The criminal attack carried out by the Zionist entity's military was intended to divert attention from Syria's army's successes opposite the terrorists, Israel's allies, working in the country, with aim of boosting the morale of the terrorist organizations dealt defeats in the battles against the Syrian army," SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency) reported.

There was also media speculation that Israel coordinated the airstrikes with Russia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after Russia announced its plans vis-à-vis Syria. They've met and spoken by phone several times since to avoid any mishap between Israeli and Russian air forces.

 

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