Israel resumes airstrikes against Iran’s proxy network in Syria

Screen capture of Syrian anti-aircraft missile launched during Israeli airstrikes in the Damascus vicinity

After an almost three week lull, Israel resumed airstrikes in southern Syria as multiple explosions were reported in the suburbs of western Damascus shortly after midnight Thursday morning.

“At about 12:56 a.m., the Israeli enemy conducted airstrikes using missiles fired from the direction of Lebanese airspace targeting several locations in the environs of the city of Damascus. Syrian air defenses engaged the missiles and downed many of them. The attacks wounded four soldiers and caused material damage,” Syrian media reported, citing a military source.

Video shared on social media showed the airstrikes at close range and secondary explosions occurring after the blasts which suggests the presence of explosive material at the site.

The airstrikes occurred two days after the MV Saviz, an Iranian military vessel, suffered an explosion in the Red Sea. The New York Times, citing an unnamed American official, reported the U.S. was informed about the attack by Israel and its forces had carried out the attack against the vessel around 7:30 a.m. local time. Furthermore, the attack against the MV Saviz was reportedly done in retaliation for previous Iranian strikes against Israeli owned vessels.

Israel’s military actions inside and outside the Syrian theater in recent months indicates an evolving threat landscape. Flights from Tehran to Damascus International Airport transporting Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) destined for Hezbollah preceded by Israeli airstrikes and attacks against Iranian-affiliated maritime vessels transporting similar illicit cargo is an indication of the evolution of the ‘war between the wars’ campaign Israel is engaged in.

It appears Israel is not deterred from continuing military operations in Syria and abroad as the Biden administration attempts to negotiate a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Furthermore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Wednesday that a nuclear deal did ‘not obligate’ Israel and it would defend itself against Iran which is indicative of hostilities continuing indefinitely between the two countries.

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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