Israel Launches Airstrikes Against Syria After Assad Defeats ISIS

Israel launches airstrikes against Syria after they defeat ISIS

Israel has launched a series of airstrikes against Syria, just days after the Syrian army won a significant battle against ISIS.

On Wednesday evening, Israel attacked a Syrian military base near the town of Maysaf, killing two Syrian soldiers in the attacks.

Netanyahu’s regime appears to have timed the attacks to occur the same night a disputed U.N. report was released that claims Assad used chemical weapons against his own people in April. reports: A number of Israeli analysts and media reports purport the Masyaf base to be a site for chemical and non-conventional weapons storage (such as “barrel bombs”) while claiming the attack was motivated by “humanitarian” concern for Syrian civilians.

But this is the reason for Israeli media and defense officials quickly claiming that the strike at Masyaf was on a chemical weapons facility: they know the “humanitarian” angle sells in the West, especially when coupled with allegations of civilians being gassed. Currently, this is putting the dubious and contested claim that the Syrian government attacked Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas back in the spotlight at a time when Israel is eager to sell war for regime change while casting its actions in terms of protecting and defending civilians from a brutal dictator. In typical fashion the big newsrooms, which rarely report from inside Syria but instead opt for the comfort of Beirut, are uncritically echoing the “humanitarian airstrike” narrative. The New York Times, in a report filed from Jerusalem, narrates the attack as follows while relying on unnamed “former Israeli officials” and a single Syrian pro-opposition outlet:

Israeli officials did not comment on the strike, but a Syrian monitoring group and two former Israeli officials said it had targeted an installation of a government agency that produced chemical weapons and a military base that produced advanced missiles.

The strike came a day after a United Nations commission accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in an attack in April that killed dozens in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and flooded clinics with victims gasping for breath.

Initially some Syria observers questioned how the Israeli Air Force could strike so deep inside Syria with no response from the country’s advanced Russian made S-400 anti-aircraft system. But it appears Syrian airspace was never violated as the Israeli jets reportedly fired from over Lebanon. Masyaf lies west of Hama and just north of the Lebanese border. While Israel’s incursion into sovereign Lebanese airspace is illegal according to international law, Lebanon cannot respond as it has no air force nor does it possess adequate anti-aircraft missiles.

It is further significant that Israel chose to fire from over Lebanon (not for the first time) even though it has routinely violated Syrian air space in previous attacks. It appears that Israel calculated it’s strike position to be in the vicinity of Russian military presence yet without forcing a Russian response by directly violating air space. The attack comes just over two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. By many accounts the meeting was contentious as Netanyahu warned Putin that Israel would not tolerate Iranian presence in Syria. It was further revealed that a senior Israeli official accompanying Netanyahu on the trip threatened to assassinate Syrian President Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, while further adding that Israel will seek to derail the US-Russia brokered de-escalation deal reached in Astana, Kazakhstan earlier this summer.

Russia’s Pravda described a frantic and upset Netanyahu at the Sochi talks with the following: “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.”

At first glance it does appear that Netanyahu is now making good on his threats, but is this latest flagrant aggression against Syria a sign of more attacks to come? Will Netanyahu pursue escalation in the hope of dragging the US and other allies into war? It’s not likely. Realistically that possibility ended when Syria retook Aleppo and with the US-Russia Astana ‘de-escalation’ deal which tacitly legitimized Iranian presence in Syria. Even some within the pro-opposition regime change crowd took to social media after the strike to say “too little, too late”.  Simply put, Israel lost the covert war and is now left “holding the bag” while its more powerful allies pull out of the full push for regime change.

But what is clear is that Israel remains deeply uncomfortable with the Syrian Army’s overwhelming momentum of late (just this week the army initiated the liberation of Deir Ezzor from ISIS) and seeks to keep the fires burning in Syria, at least enough to bog down Assad and Iran. Worse for Netanyahu, Hezbollah seems stronger than ever, along with the so-called ‘resistance axis’ that stretches from Tehran to South Lebanon.

Israeli officials have gone so far as to declare their preference for Islamic State terrorists on their border rather than allies of Iran. But as we’ve repeatedly pointed out, Israel is acting from a position of weakness and desperation. All that Netanyahu can hope for now is that an Israeli provocation leads to a direct Syrian military response, but it appears that Assad is not taking the bait.

In 2013 when Israel launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus, it claimed to be attacking a parked Hezbollah weapons convoy. Perhaps more brazen was the 2016 attack targeting Damascus International Airport, which killed a well-known Hezbollah commander. And in a significant admission earlier this month, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years.

Netanyahu himself was recently caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Indeed Assad has not taken the bait for years now. While pro-government Syrians have themselves at times complained about Israel’s seeming ability to strike inside sovereign Syrian territory with impunity, Assad has the long-game in mind of “survival now, retaliation later“. It was clear from the start that Israel’s attacks on largely non-strategic targets were more about provocation: should Damascus lob missiles back in Israel’s direction Netanyahu would launch an all-out assault while Syria was at its weakest in the midst of a grinding and externally funded al-Qaeda insurgency.

Israel has also been careful to frame its actions in terms of counter-terror strikes on Hezbollah targets for the sake of maintaining an air of legitimacy to its aggression. But as the Astana agreement demonstrates (a strategic victory for Russia-Iran-Syria),  Syria’s ability to absorb Israel’s repeat provocations seems to be part of a strategic “waiting game” born of an accurate self assessment of past and current vulnerabilities. As The Century Foundation concludes:

Syria’s contemporary leaders seem to have adopted a simplified version of the “long breath strategy” of the former president—and father of Syria’s current leader—Hafez al Assad. This strategy was named for Syria’s ability to draw a deep breath and weather short-term pain and setbacks in pursuit of a better deal.

And this strategy seems to be working, resulting in a shift in perspective which is even beginning to permeate at least part of the Israeli defense establishment:

A formerly very high-placed source in Israel’s security system spoke to Al-Monitor last week. He said on condition of anonymity, “It’s high time to admit that perhaps all our assessments were erroneous. The prevailing consensus of the last five years was that Syria will never return to its former state. We thought that however this turns out, the Syrian state as we knew it had passed from the world. But evidently we were wrong.”

Israel’s top decision-makers have not changed course, but it is likely that such arguments are heard in private discussions, and top-secret intelligence assessments see it as a real possibility that Assad is capable of outsmarting those who prematurely eulogized him and Syria as we knew it.

“Syria is returning, that is clear now,” said the source. “It’s not about the quantity of territory, it’s about central rule. If nothing unexpected happens, in the near future, Assad will be declared the final, unequivocal winner of this war. Following that, the path to Syria’s rebuilding and reconstruction will be short.”

Concerning Israel’s adventurist military action this week, contrary to the claims of unnamed “Israeli officials” who say the latest attack was against a branch of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), it is likely that this week’s air strike was yet another “routine” attack on a Hezbollah weapons depot.

According to Elijah Magnier – a veteran Kuwait-based Middle East journalist, fluent Arabic speaker, and one who reports from on the ground in Syria (and has done so for years) – Israel in truth hit another Hezbollah weapons storehouse (not a chemical weapons production facility). But with renewed claims that Syrian government possesses and has used sarin gas, Israel is seeking to maximize the propaganda value of the strike. After all, the world’s attention now seems far away from Syria and the Israeli gloves are off. Israel will do and say whatever it can to get the wheels of internationally backed regime change in motion again.

  • anonymous4u4me

    Damascus will be turned to rubble and when it is done, the entire world will regret it.

    • Ron Wheeler

      Based upon what, the Bible?

    • Björn Ekhöy

      Yes I agree, It is sad, but I believe it will happen given the fact that it will trigger the next step in the NWO plan that the Norwegian Labor Party has been instrumental in implementing especially since the Socialist International meeting in Oslo in April of 1962. Like you say: The whole world will regret.

  • Ron Wheeler

    Putin is in with the Israelis bombing and in air strikes killing Syrians.

  • fishing4truth

    anonymous, you’re 100% correct that Damascus will be left a heap of rubble. But it won’t be as you might think it will come about. There are very specific Biblical prophesies that describe its complete destruction & Biblical prophecy is 100% accurate. Not a single prophecy given by Yahweh’s prophets has failed to be fulfilled – 100% accurate! “This is a message about Damascus: Damascus is now a city, but it will be destroyed. Only ruined buildings will be left there. People will leave the cities of Aroer. Flocks of sheep will wander freely in those empty towns; there will be no one to bother them. The fort cities of Ephraim will be destroyed. The government in Damascus will be finished. Those left in Aram will lose everything, just like the people of Israel,” says the Lord All-Powerful.” (Isaiah 17: 1-3)
    I do not believe that this prophecy has been fulfilled yet, it for an appointed time in the future. Consider these scholars who say the exact same thing:
    “Jan Markell, founder and director of Minnesota-based Olive Tree Ministries says, “the Syrians’ use of chemical weapons makes her think about Isaiah 17, which foretells the complete destruction of Damascus, which hasn’t happened in thousands of years.”
    Britt Gillette: “In the very near future, Damascus will once again play a major role in human events. The prophet Isaiah provides us with God’s commentary on a future conflict between Damascus and Israel, and in so doing, he reveals certain prophecies which have been partially fulfilled in the past. However, the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 17 remains in the future.”
    I strongly urge anyone who doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ personally, to confess their sins, repent (change direction & turn towards God) and receive the free gift of Eternal Life that He offers. Consider this portion of the Book of Ephesians: “I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    • cfix

      how about you do not waste your time here or anywhere and ONLY pray, pray, pray ?

      • fishing4truth

        cfix, I don’t see stating Biblical truths as a waste of my time or energy. If you are offended by the Word of God, don’t read my posts, any more.

        • cfix

          It is the same “word of God”, a.k.a. biblical bullshit, that Jews are using to occupy Palestine with their “God gave us this land” crap.

          • fishing4truth

            cfix, so what? If you don’t like it leave it alone and do your own thing. As long as the US Constitution allows me free speech and the right to worship the God of my choice I will continue to quote Scriptures and name my allegiance to Jesus Christ. That’s my choice and my freedom, again if my expressing my beliefs offends you, you’re free to ignore them. No one is forcing you to read my comments. And as long as I have breath, I will continue to express my Christian faith as well as my love & support of Israel.

          • cfix

            Continue..Isreal needs the religious freaks like you.

          • cfix

            So you are zionist pig