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Israel has ramped up its attacks on Syria in what appears to be an attempt to mount more pressure on the Damascus government over its alliance with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
On August 31, two separate Israeli aerial attacks targeted the northern and southern regions of the war-torn country.
At around 8 p.m. local time, a wave of Israeli strikes, which were reportedly launched from the Eastern Mediterranean, targeted Aleppo International Airport in the northern region.
The strikes inflicted some heavy material losses on the airport, where a series of powerful explosions were observed. According to unverified reports in the Arab media, the strikes targeted the main runway of the airport as well as nearby military positions.
Over an hour later, at around 9.15 p.m. local time, a second wave of Israeli strikes hit the southeastern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, which is situated in the south of the country. The strikes were launched from the direction of Lake Tiberias in northern Israel.
Syrian air defenses intercepted several missiles. However, material losses were reported. Some reports in the Arab media said that the strikes targeted one of the two main runways of Damascus International Airport. This is yet to be confirmed.
Israel launched its strikes on Aleppo and Damascus just a few hours after a US-sanctioned Iranian cargo plane, EP-GOX Yas Air Cargo, landed in Aleppo International Airport. Some military observers have speculated that the plane was carrying a weapons shipment meant for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The recent surge in Israeli attacks on Syria has provoked Damascus and its allies like never before. A recent report by the New York Times said that the alliance, known as the “Axis of Resistance,” have agreed to respond to Israel’s repeated attacks by striking US bases in Syria, mainly the al-Tanf garrison in the southeastern region.
Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq have already responded to the August 14 Israeli attack on Tartus and Damascus by targeting the US al-Tanf garrison with a number of suicide drones on the very next day. However, the drone attack led to a confrontation with the US-led coalition, who responded less than ten days later by striking positions of Iranian-backed forces in Deir Ezzor in the northeastern region.
It is unclear if Iranian-backed forces will take the risk and respond to the new large-scale Israeli attack by targeting the US al-Tanf garrison or other bases in the northeastern region. A lack of a response might likely encourage Israel to further escalate its attacks on Syria.
Israel claims that its attacks on Syria are meant to prevent Iran from establishing a lasting military presence in the country as well as to destroy Iranian weapons shipments en-route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. None of these objectives have been achieved as of yet.