Israel warns Hezbollah over its recent activity in Syria

Several incidents that have recently occurred between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have brought the decades-long conflict between the two back into focus.

The recent uptick in activity began March 26 when a drone was detected crossing into Israeli air space from Lebanon and was subsequently shot down by the IDF.

According to an IDF statement, “A drone belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization was shot down after it crossed into Israeli airspace from Lebanon.”

After the incident, Hezbollah did not publicly respond to the downing of one of their alleged drones.

The second incident involved the release of footage with a tacit threat by the IDF from its Twitter account on April 10. According to the statement, the head of the Syrian Armed Forces 1st Corps, Luau Ali Ahmad Assad, was observed visiting Hezbollah positions in southern Syria with head of Hezbollah’s southern command, Hajj Hashem.

“Look closely. See the man with white hair? That’s the head of the Syrian Armed Forces 1st Corps, Luau Ali Ahmad Assad. He’s visiting Hezbollah positions in Syria. Our message: We see you. Consider this a warning. We won’t allow Hezbollah to entrench itself militarily in Syria,” the IDF Twitter statement read.

The third and most serious event took place April 15. The incident occurred in the Syrian town of Jdaidit Yabws, near the Lebanese border.

According to an al Jarida report “An Israeli drone targeted a convoy of Lebanese Hezbollah inside the Syrian territories near the border.”

The report went into further detail saying “A source in Tehran stated that a [Hezbollah] party leader named Imad Karimi was the target, and that the first missile did not hit the car, which allowed its passengers to flee before the second missile succeeded in hitting it.”

Hezbollah has not made an official statement about the attack from any of its media platforms.

Alternatively, the target of the airstrikes was not necessarily the Hezbollah members traveling inside the vehicle. The objective of the attack may have been to destroy cargo that was being transported in the vehicle.

Over recent years Israel has been operating militarily in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq against Iran’s precision guided missile project. The project aims to upgrade Hezbollah’s missile accuracy by transferring Iranian-made components to Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah to strike targets accurately.

The recent events have demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic has not deterred either side from attempting to accomplish their military objectives. Iran will likely continue the transfer of precision guided components to Hezbollah as Israel attempts to thwart the shipments as it has previously done in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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