Iran Is Trying to Expand Its Presence in Syria, and Israel Has Struck Back

November 19, 2020 | Ron Ben-Yishai
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After discovering explosives planted along the Israeli-Syrian border, the IDF on Wednesday morning struck a joint Syrian and Iranian military headquarters near Damascus. Ron Ben-Yishai places the attacks in the context of Tehran’s efforts to turn Syria into a base for attacking the Jewish state:

A new strategic challenge has surfaced in Syria following a recently signed agreement between Tehran and Damascus, which will allow Iran to transfer state-of-the-art air defense designed to combat Israeli aerial attacks. This agreement is evidence of a new phase in Iran’s presence in Syria, with increased shipments of anti-aircraft and missile systems to Syria—most of which are Russian-made or acquired from Moscow—meant to bolsters Bashar al-Assad’s air defenses.

Tehran also threatened to send advanced surface-to-air missiles to Syria, the same ones that shot down an American drone over the Persian Gulf in 2019. There were several attempts to deliver these systems, but according to foreign reports they were always thwarted by the Israel Air Force upon arrival in Syria.

It can be assumed that the installations attacked early Wednesday by the IDF were part of this effort, with Israel sending a clear message that it will not allow Iran to bolster Syria’s anti-air apparatuses with Russian-made equipment.

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