Iran–Israel conflict during the Syrian Civil War

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Israeli involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Part of Iran–Israel proxy conflict and Foreign Involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Date2013–present
Location
SyriaIsrael ceasefire line, Syrian territories
Result ongoing
Belligerents
 Israel  Iran
Hezbollah
 Syria
Commanders and leaders
Israel Benjamin Netanyahu Iran Ali Khamenei
Hassan Nasrallah
Syria Bashar al-Assad

Iran–Israel conflict during the Syrian Civil War refers to the Iranian-Israeli standoff in and around Syria on the course of the Syrian conflict. With increasing Iranian involvement in Syria from 2011 onwards, the conflict shifted from a proxy war into a direct confrontation by early 2018.[1]

On several occasions, between 2013 and 2017, Israel reportedly carried out or supported attacks on Hezbollah and Iranian targets within Syrian territories or Lebanon. One of the first reliably reported incident of this kind took place on 30 January 2013, when Israeli aircraft struck a Syrian convoy allegedly transporting Iranian weapons to Hezbollah.[2] Habitually, Israel refused to comment on the incident, a stance that is believed to seek to ensure that the Syrian government did not feel obliged to retaliate.[2]

More incidents were attributed to IAF on May 2013, December 2014, April 2015. Some of those reports were confirmed by the Syrian Arab Republic, whereas others denied. Israel systematically refused to comment on alleged targeting of Hezbollah and Ba'athist Syrian targets in Syrian territory. In 2015, suspected Hezbollah militants launched a retaliatory attack on Israeli forces in Shebaa farms. In March 2017, Syria launched anti-aircraft missiles towards Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights, allegedly targeting Israeli IAF aircraft, which Syria claimed were on their way to attack targets in Palmyra (Syria). After the incident, the State of Israel has stated it was targeting weapons shipments headed toward anti-Israeli forces, specifically Hezbollah, located in Lebanon. Israel denied Syria's claim that one jet fighter was shot down and another damaged. Israel has not reported any pilots or aircraft missing in Syria, or anywhere else in the Middle East following the incident. According to some sources, the incident was the first time Israeli officials clearly confirmed an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah convoy during the Syrian Civil War.[3] As of September 2017, this was the only time such confirmation was issued.

By early December 2017, the Israeli air force had confirmed it had attacked arms convoys of Ba'athist Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah nearly 100 times during within over six years of the conflict in Syria.[4] In September 2018, the Israeli air force stated that it had conducted over 200 airstrikes on Iranian targets in 2017–2018 alone.[5]

Timeline[edit]

2013[edit]

On 30 January 2013, Israeli aircraft allegedly struck a Syrian convoy transporting Iranian weapons to Hezbollah.[2] Other sources stated the targeted site was a military research center in Jamraya responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons.[6]

Two additional air strikes, also attributed to Israel, reportedly took place on 3 and 5 May 2013. Both allegedly targeted long-ranged weapons sent from Iran to Hezbollah.[7][8]

According to anonymous US officials, Israel launched another airstrike or cruise missile attack on 5 July. It allegedly targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles near the city of Latakia, and killed several Syrian troops.[9]

An unidentified U.S. administration official on 31 October said Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian base near the port of Latakia, targeting missiles that Israel thought might be transferred to its Lebanese militia enemy Hezbollah.[10]

The relationship between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Islamic Republic of Iran strengthened as a result of Hamas moving away from Iran due to differing positions on the Syrian Civil War. Iran rewarded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's pro-Assad stance with an increase in financial and military assistance. Abu Ahmad Fouad, a PFLP political-bureau member said that the group might retaliate toward Israel if the United States bombs Syria.[11]

On 15 December 2013 a Lebanese sniper opened fire at an Israeli vehicle traveling near the border area of Rosh Hanikra, killing a soldier inside. Several hours later, the Israeli military said it shot two Lebanese soldiers after spotting "suspicious movement" in the same area.[12]

2014[edit]

Syrian opposition sources, as well as Lebanese sources, reported that another strike happened in Latakia on 26 January 2014. Explosions were reported in the city and Israeli planes were reported over Lebanon. The target was allegedly S-300 missiles.[13]

It was reported that Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes against Hezbollah facilities in Lebanon near the border with Syria on 24 February 2014, killing several militants. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the attack targeted a Hezbollah missile base.[14]

On 7 December 2014 Israeli jets allegedly bombed areas near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon. According to foreign reports the attack targeted a warehouse of advanced S-300 missiles, which were en route from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.[15] Al Arabiya reported that two Hezbollah militants were killed in the strikes, including a senior military official.[16]

2015[edit]

On 18 January 2015, Israeli helicopters allegedly attacked a Hezbollah's convoy in the Syrian-controlled part of Golan Heights, killing six prominent members of Hezbollah and six IRGC commanders, including a General.[17][18] On 28 January, Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military convoy in the Shebaa farms, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.[19] Israel responded with at least 50 artillery shells across the border into southern Lebanon, in which a Spanish UN peacekeeper was killed.[20]

On 25 April 2015, a series of attacks attributed to the Israeli Air Force were made in the al-Qalamoun region of Syria against Hezbollah camps and weapons convoys in two brigade bases.[21] Al-Nusra Front, however, has also claimed the attacks.[22]

On 29 July 2015, Israeli airplanes reportedly struck a vehicle located in a Druse village in southwestern Syria, killing Hezbollah men and a pro-Assad militiaman.[23] A second airstrike targeted a military base along the Syrian-Lebanese border belonging to a pro-Syrian Palestinian faction.[24]

On 20 and 21 August 2015, after four rockets hit the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee, Israel allegedly launched airstrikes in Syria, killing several militants.[25]

According to Syrian media, on 31 October 2015, Israeli aircraft attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in southern Syria, close to the border with Lebanon in the Qalamoun Mountains region. Estimated targets included a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah.[26] It was reported another Israeli airstrike near Damascus airport on 11 November[27] that targeted Hezbollah weapons warehouses.[28]

The Syrian opposition reported an Israeli airstrike in the Qualamoun area of the Syria–Lebanon border on 23 November 2015. According to these sources, the strike killed 13 Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters, and left dozens wounded, including four seriously. The Qualamoun region has been a major transit point for Hezbollah fighters and other logistical equipment to and from Syria.[29] According to Syrian sources, Israeli aircraft attacked again Syrian army and Hezbollah targets in the area around Qalamoun on 28 November, causing dead and wounded among Hezbollah fighters.[30]

On 19 December 2015, eight people, including Samir Kuntar and other Hezbollah commanders were killed by an explosion in the outskirts of Damascus. According to official Syrian sources, Kuntar was killed by a "terrorist rocket attack".[31] On 20 December 2015, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi described the incident as a terrorist operation "plotted beforehand", noting that Syrian authorities were carrying out an investigation to find out how the operation happened.[31] Hezbollah claimed that the building was destroyed by an air-to-surface missile launched by Israeli Air Force jets.[32][33][34] On 21 December, the Free Syrian Army released a video clip claiming responsibility for killing Kuntar.[35][36]

Sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition reported that Israeli aircraft attacked seven positions belonging to Hezbollah in the Qalamoun Mountains area on 26 December 2015.[37]

2016[edit]

Arab media reported that on 30 November 2016, Israeli jets allegedly struck a Syrian military compound in Damascus and a Hezbollah weapons convoy in the Damascus-Beirut highway.[38]

On 7 December 2016, Syria and Hezbollah accused Israel of launching surface-to-surface missiles targeting the Mezzeh airbase near Damascus. Unnamed Syrian sources told Lebanese newspaper Elnashra that the strikes targeted the airport's runway and operations command center, while another unnamed source said that the strikes targeted the regime's 4th division operations center at the airport.[39] A Syrian opposition group said the target was a convoy of chemical weapons en route to Hezbollah.[40]

2017[edit]

On 12 January 2017, Israeli warplanes were blamed for striking the Mezzeh Airbase in rural Damascus. According to Al-Masdar field correspondent, the target was an ammunition depot, causing a massive explosion that could be heard from the Syrian capital.[41]

On 22 February 2017, Israeli jets struck a Hezbollah weapons shipment near Damascus.[42]

The March 2017 Israel–Syria incident took place on 17 March 2017, when several Syrian S-200 missiles were fired at Israeli Air Force jets, allegedly aiming to attack targets in Syria, near a military installation in Palmyra, and one missile was shot down by an "aerial defense system", likely an Arrow missile.[43][44][45] The State of Israel has stated it was targeting weapons shipments headed toward anti-Israeli forces, specifically Hezbollah, located in Lebanon.[43] Israel denied Syria's claim that one jet fighter was shot down and another damaged. Israel has not reported any pilots or aircraft missing in Syria, or anywhere else in the Middle East following the raids. Also, neither Syria nor Hezbollah have shown photos or video of downed Israeli aircraft or personnel. According to some sources, the incident was the first time Israeli officials clearly confirmed an Israeli strike on Syrian territory during the Syrian Civil War, though IDF declined any comment concerning the location of targets.[46]

On 27 April 2017, Syria's state-run SANA news agency said that there was an explosion felt in Damascus International Airport at 3:42 am. No casualties were reported. The blast was reportedly felt 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away.[47] The Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz appeared to take responsibility for the explosion, telling Army Radio that "The incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah."[48] Two rebel sources told Reuters that "five strikes hit an ammunition depot used by Iran-backed militias."

On 7 September 2017, the Guardian reported that the Syrian military said in a statement that Israeli jets carried out airstrikes on the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a Syrian government military research facility where it was rumoured to contain chemical weapons near the city of Masyaf, Hama Governorate, killing at least two Syrian Army soldiers.[49] The missiles were fired from Lebanese air space; the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other sources identified the target as the al-Talai facility; and Syrian opposition sources said four Israeli aircraft were involved in the strike. The US claims the research centre developed the sarin gas weapon allegedly used in the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack; Yaakov Amidror a former Israeli national security adviser, said "For many years it has been one of the Syrian centres for research and development for weapons systems including chemical weapons … and weapons that have been transferred to Hezbollah." The director of the Israeli national security council's counter-terrorism bureau called for the destruction of the centre in 2010, alleging it had provided weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas.[50]

On 22 September 2017, some sources reported that Israeli jets carried out three separate strikes on targets near the Damascus International Airport, which the SOHR reported to have struck Hezbollah weapons depots.[51]

On 16 October, Israeli aircraft destroyed a Syrian SA-5 anti-aircraft battery east of Damascus after it fired a missile at Israeli jets that were on a routine aerial reconnaissance flight in Lebanese airspace.[52] On morning 16 October 2017, according to the Israeli military, Israeli jets attacked a Ba'athist Syrian anti-aircraft missile launcher after it fired on Israeli aircraft flying in Lebanon's air space, close to the Syrian border, for reconnaissance mission; an Israeli military spokesman said it was the first time Israeli aircraft had been targeted by Syrian forces while flying over Lebanon since the Syrian war began.[53]

On 1 November 2017, Arab media claimed Israeli jets allegedly bombed a weapons depot situated in rural areas around Hisya, south of Homs. Several reports claimed that the Syrians launched a surface-to-air missile against Israeli aircraft but did not hit them.[54] Arab media also reported Israeli strikes and anti-aircraft missile launches from Iranian bases near al-Kiswahon 2 December 2017.[55][56]

On early morning 2 December 2017, a military site near Al-Kiswah south of Damascus was attacked by missiles reputedly from the Israeli military; two of the surface-to-surface missiles launched were intercepted by Syrian air defense, according to Syrian media reports.[4][57][58] The incident was three days after followed by a report by Syria that claimed that Syrian air defense units had shot down three Israeli missiles that were targeting a military post near Damascus; there was no Israeli comment on the incident.[59] Another attack was reported on 7 December.[60]

2018[edit]

February 2018[edit]

On 7 February 2018, Syrian state media said that Israeli warplanes attacked a military position in the Damascus countryside from Lebanese airspace, with Syrian air defenses destroying most of the missiles. Other reports stated that the target was the Scientific Research Center in Jamraya, west of Damascus, and that the same position had been targeted by Israel twice before. Some activists claim that the position contains arms depots used by Hezbollah.[61]

Israel conducted further airstrikes in Syria in February 2018 which were believed to target weapon transfers to Hezbollah.[62] Subsequently, an Iranian-made drone was shot down over northern Israel and an IAF F-16 was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire in retaliatory strikes.[63] Both aircrew ejected and landed safely before the plane crashed near the Harduf kibbutz and the IAF followed up with further strikes against targets Syrian air defenses and Iranian drone-control facilities.[64][65]

March 2018[edit]

On 17 March 2018, the Israeli Air Force struck a target in Syria. In response the Syrian Army fired several S-200 missiles at Israeli jets above Golan Heights. Israel reported that one Syrian missile had been shot down by an Arrow 2 missile, while none of its aircraft had been damaged.[43] Israel stated it was targeting weapon shipments headed toward anti-Israeli forces, specifically Hezbollah, in Lebanon, while the Syrian Army claimed that a military site near Palmyra had been struck.[43]

April 2018[edit]

Russia and Syria accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike on 9 April 2018, against Tiyas air base, also known as the T-4 air base, outside Palmyra in central Syria. The Russian defense ministry said the Israeli aircraft launched eight missiles at the base from Lebanese airspace, five of which were intercepted by Syrian air defense systems. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, at least 14 people were killed and more were wounded.[66] Among the dead were seven Iranian soldiers.[67] On 16 April, an unnamed Israeli military official confirmed to the New York Times his country conducted the airstrikes.[68]

At least 26 pro-regime fighters were killed by missile strikes on 29 April in the Hama Province of central Syria. According to Iran's state media, 18 of them were Iranians.[69] The strikes also hit an airbase in the nearby Aleppo Province storing surface-to-surface missiles. "Given the nature of the target, it is likely to have been an Israeli strike", according to SOHR.[70]

May 2018[edit]

Arab media reported that on 6 May 2018 eight members of the Syrian Air Force's 150th Air Defense Division were killed in a mysterious explosion in the morning on the Damascus-Suwayda road. Engineers and soldiers from the battalion that was responsible for the operation of the anti-aircraft system S-200 and had carried out the downing of the Israeli F-16 two months prior, took a transport vehicle and suddenly the explosion took place. According to Syrian sources, eight were killed and Israel was blamed for assassinating them.[71]

According to Syrian media, on 8 May 2018, Israeli warplanes struck several military bases in Syria where there is significant Iranian presence. The Syrian government claimed that two Israeli missiles that were targeting a weapons convoy at a base were downed near the al-Kiswah industrial zones close to Damascus.[72]

On 10 May, Iranian elite forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights were accused by IDF of having fired around 20 projectiles towards Israeli army positions causing no damage or injuries.[73] Israel responded with the "most extended strike in Syria in decades".[74] According to Russia's Defense Ministry, this involved 28 planes and the fire of 70 missiles .[74] However, The Syrian Arab Army claimed responsibility for the attack on Israeli army positions.[75] And Fares Shehabi, member of the Syrian parliament for Aleppo, also confirmed that it was the Syrians and not the Iranians that struck Israeli targets in retaliation to Israeli bombardment of Syria.[76][77]

On 18 May, massive explosions hit the Hama Military Airport. Sky News Arabia reported that it was caused by targeted strikes against an Iranian Bavar 373 long-range missile defense system that was put into service in March 2017.[78] The Baghdad Post reported that Israeli jets targeted the IRGC positions at the airport and that the shelling came shortly after hitting positions of the Iraqi militias who gathered there.[79]

On 24 May, warplanes flying from Lebanese airspace conducted a strike near an airport in Homs, following earlier reports of Israeli aircraft being seen above Lebanon.[80][81][82] According to the Syrian Al-Marsad organization for human rights, the attack was aimed at a Hezbollah base.[83] Twenty one people were reportedly killed in the strike, including nine Iranians.[84]

June 2018[edit]

According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, Israel struck Iraqi Shiite militants in Syria with the approval of both Russia and the United States on 18 June 2018, killing 52.[85] Syrian official news agency SANA reported that two Israeli missiles struck near Damascus International Airport on June 26.[86] Local activists claimed that Israeli warplanes targeted an Iranian cargo plane that was being unloaded at the airport.[87] UK-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Israeli missiles hit arms depots for Hezbollah near the airport and Syrian air defense systems failed to prevent the Israeli strikes.[88]

July 2018[edit]

According to the Syrian opposition, an Israeli airstrike destroyed ammunition warehouses belonging to the Assad regime and pro-Assad militias in the Deraa district of southern Syria on July 3.[89]

Syrian State TV reported on July 8 that Israeli aircraft targeted the T-4 air base near Homs, and Syrian air defense systems shot down a number of incoming missiles. While Syrian state media did not report any casualties, the Syrian opposition stated nine people were killed in the strikes. Citing Arab media sources, Al Jazeera claimed between four and six rockets hit the base and its surroundings.[90]

On July 11, 2018, after an Israeli Patriot missile intercepted a Syrian reconnaissance drone which infiltrated into northern Israel, Israel attacked three Syrian military posts in the Quneitra area.[91]

Syrian media reported that on July 15 Israel attacked the Nayrab military airport outside Aleppo. In the past Al-Nayrab has been linked to Iranian forces.[92] On July 22, Syrian state television reported that an Israeli airstrike hit a military site in the city of Misyaf in the Hama province, causing only material damage. An intelligence source assessed that a military research center for chemical arms production was located near the city.[93]

On 22 July 2018, SANA claimed that a facility at Masyaf had been struck. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that an attack had targeted the location and claimed that it was being used for the assembly of surface-to-surface missiles, under the supervision of Iranian forces. it further claimed that Iranian and Hizbollah units were present in the vicinity. The facility struck is reported to have been under the control of the Scientific Studies And Research Center which has been suspected of being responsible for the production of chemical weapons. The site was allegedly previously struck in September 2017.[94]

On 24 July, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that they said had crossed about one mile into Israeli airspace. The IDF shot the aircraft down using two Patriot missiles.[95]

September 2018[edit]

Large explosions were reported at a Syrian military air base near Damascus on 2 September 2018 in a strike attributed by some to Israeli warplanes. However, Syria denied an attack had taken place, saying the blasts were caused by an explosion at an ammunitions dump provoked by electrical malfunctions.[96] Israel didn't issue any statement in regard to the incident.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli aircraft attacked Iranian positions in the city of Hama on 4 September 2018, killing at least one person and injuring twelve others. According to a military source, Syrian air defenses intercepted several missiles over the nearby town of Wadi al-Uyun. Additional strikes were reported in Baniyas as well.[97] Israel revealed that its forces have carried out more than 200 airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria and fired over 800 missiles and mortar shells over the past year and a half, causing an interruption of Iran's arms smuggling and the evacuation of several Iranian bases in Syria.[98] Israel allegedly targeted Damascus airport on September 15, destroying a weapons depot with newly-arrived arms for Hezbollah or the Iranian military. Syrian state media claimed Israeli missiles were intercepted.[99]

On 17 September, the Israeli Air Force conducted missile strikes on a weapons facility near Latakia. The IDF acknowledged the airstrikes the following day.[100] SANA news agency reported ten people had been injured.[101] According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 113 Iranian soldiers were killed during the past month as a result of Israeli strikes in Syria.[102] During or within 40 minutes after the strikes, an Il-20 ELINT reconnaissance plane, with 15 Russian servicemen on board, which was coming in to land at the Russian Khmeimim Air Base, was shot down in a friendly fire incident by Syrian air defense systems that sought to target the Israeli aircraft.[103][104][105][106] Russia's defence minister Sergey Shoygu blamed Israel's military for the accident because, according to the ministry, the Russian military had only received one minute's warning from Israel about the impending missile strikes and the four Israeli F-16 jets that conducted the strikes deliberately used the Russian plane as cover to allow them to approach their targets on the ground without being hit by Syrian fire.[103][107] On September 20 in Moscow an Israeli delegation led by commander of the Israeli Air Force Amikam Norkin presented to Russia Air Force command Israel's inquiry on the bombing of an Iranian-Hezbollah advanced weapons transfer site and the related loss of the IL-20. The IDF stated that their planes were already landing in Israel when Syrian antiaircraft missiles shot down the Russian IL-20.[108][109]

November 2018[edit]

Israeli missiles reportedly targeted sites belonging to Iranian-backed militias in al-Kiswah on November 29, 2018. Fragments of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile were found in an open area in Israel's side of the Golan Heights several hours after Syrian media said it had downed "hostile targets" over the southern part of the country the previous night. Israeli military sources denied any plane was shot down.[110]

December 2018[edit]

Alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus, targeting Hezbollah and weaponry.[111] Israeli air defenses, probably Arrow missile were fired from Hadera towards a Syrian surface to air missile.[112]

2019[edit]

The IDF stated that it bombed 202 Iranian targets from January 2017 to September 2018 alone, using over 800 bombs and missiles, an average of one strike every three days. The 202 targets were mostly shipments of advanced weaponry, as well as military bases and infrastructure used by the IRGC and their proxy militias, which the IDF officials said drove Iranian forces to abandon some posts.[5]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that on January 12, 2019, Israeli aircraft attacked missile depots belonging to Hezbollah in the al-Kiswah area and Damascus International Airport. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said "Only in the last 36 hours did the air force strike targets in Syria and we have proven that we will stop the settlement of Iran in Syria."[113] The strikes destroyed a building and radar site at the airport as well as a radar site in the Suwayda countryside, and damaged a suspected Iranian target in a Syrian military base next to Jamraya.[114]

Local Syrian media and Syrian opposition sources reported that on January 20, 2019, Israeli missiles were fired at Damascus International Airport and the town of al-Kiswah. The Syrian military claimed nine missiles were intercepted by its air defenses. IDF reported that the Iron Dome system intercepted an incoming projectile from Syria, which was heading toward the northern Golan Heights.[115] Israel retaliated by attacking Iranian targets near Damascus and Syrian air defense batteries that fired upon the attacking Israeli jets.[116] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 21 people died in the strikes, including 12 Iranian fighters.[117] On January 23, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Israel must stop its "arbitrary" air incursions into Syria. Syria's envoy to the UN Bashar Jaafari raised the prospected of retaliatory Syrian attacks on Tel Aviv airport.[118]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that on 12 January 2019, Israeli aircraft attacked missile depots belonging to Hezbollah in the al-Kiwash area and the Damascus international airport. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said "Only in the last 36 hours did the air force strike targets in Syria and we have proven that we will stop the settlement of Iran in Syria."[113]

On 27 March, an Israeli airstrike northeast of Aleppo on a weapons depot killed one Iranian and six Iraqi fighters.[119]

On 13 April, Syria says Israel launched airstrikes at a military academy near Masyaf known as the "Accounting School", along with targeting a missile development center in a village near Masyaf, and a nearby military base run by Iran-backed fighters. The strikes injured at least 6 soldiers. The SOHR reports that 17 were wounded and deaths occurred, but no number was given.[120]

On 27 May, an Israeli aircraft destroyed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery, killing 2 soldiers (one of whom was an officer).[121]

On 3 June, Syrian state media reported that Israel attacked the Tiyas Military Airbase near the northern city of Homs, killing 1 to 5 soldiers.[122] Independent satellite imagery analysis showed that the strikes were aimed at a specific recently-arrived weapons cache from Iran, possibly UAVs.[123]

On 1 July, Israel performed strikes on multiple Iranian and Syrian military targets outside Damascus and Homs, killing 16 people (including 9 foreign militiamen) and wounding 21.[124] A stray Syrian S-200 missile fired in response to the Israeli strikes crashed and exploded on a mountain near Vouno in Northern Cyprus, located 20 kms (12 miles) northeast of Nicosia, causing no injuries but starting a fire.[125]

On 23 July, Israel launched missile strikes on military positions and intelligence facilities belonging to Iran and Iran-controlled militias, killing 6 Iranian soldiers and 3 militiamen.[126]

On August 24, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted strikes on targets near Damascus, citing a successful attempt to obstruct an Iranian drone attack on Israel.[127]

On September 9, Israeli aircraft struck an arms depot belonging to a pro-Iranian Iraqi militia, killing 21 militiamen and demolishing the facility.[128]

On September 17, Israeli aircraft struck another weapons depot belonging to pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen, killing another 10 fighters.[129]

On November 19, after four missiles were fired and intercepted at Israeli-controlled Golan, Israeli aircraft attacked Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria, including advanced air defense systems, surface-to-air missiles, reconnaissance sites and warehouses, the National Defense Building at the Damascus International Airport which houses the Quds Force headquarters and other military positions. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 23 people were killed, including sixteen foreigners (most likely Iranians).[130]

2020[edit]

9–10 January, unidentified planes, probably belonging to Israel, killed eight fighters from pro-Iranian Iraqi militia, the Imam Ali Brigades, by targeting their arms depots along with other trucks carrying a weapons shipment to Lebanese Hezbollah, in the vicinity of Abu Kamal and Al-Qitaa.[131][132]

On 6 February, Israeli warplanes fire missiles near Damascus, Syria. A pro-opposition war monitor said army positions and Iran-backed militias were targeted, killing 15 fighters, including five Syrians and at least three Iranians. Syria said eight fighters were wounded and Israel intended to "save the armed terrorist organisations which have been collapsing in Idlib and western Aleppo Governorate in front of the strikes of the Syrian Army", in reference to the Operation Idlib.[133]

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