Israeli continues striking Syria as part of its ‘war between wars’ with Damascus
An Israeli air attack on the Syrian coastal city Tartous killed two Syrian soldiers and injured six more on 14 September, a Syrian military source told state media SANA.
“[A]t 17:22 this afternoon, the Israeli enemy carried out an aggression with bursts of missiles from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, targeting some air defense sites in Tartous Governorate,” the source stated.
Syrian air defenses intercepted several Israeli missiles over Tartous coming from international water, while some hit a military point between the Deir al-Hajar villages and Al-Jammasa in Tartous countryside, Syrian journalist Ibrahim Mohammad reported.
The attack comes two weeks after the Israeli air force targeted Aleppo International Airport, putting it out of service. In the same month, a Syrian military source reported that a soldier was injured in an Israeli strike targeting the vicinity.
Israel has bombed Syria hundreds of times in recent years and continues to do so in anticipation of a larger future conflict. The Israeli military refers to the ongoing strikes such as in Tartous and Aleppo as the “war between the wars.”
Israel participated in the US-led war on Syria that began in 2011. The US and its regional allies provided weapons, funding, and media support to Salafist armed groups, including Al-Qaeda, in an attempt to topple the Syrian government and divide Syria.
The US-led war was only partially successful. Russia intervened to help the Syrian army defeat the armed groups, including the Nusra Front and ISIS, to prevent the government from falling.
However, the US military successfully partnered with Kurdish separatists from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to occupy northeast Syria, where the majority of the country’s oil and wheat is produced.
Turkiye continues to support extremist groups, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Syrian National Army (SNA), which occupy parts of northern Syria.
Despite these challenges, the Syrian army has strengthened its capabilities in an effort to counter Israel.
An August report from the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University noted “After more than a decade in which the Syrian army was engaged in the civil war in the country, it is now turning more and more attention towards the old enemy – Israel – as well as working to regain its strength that was lost during the bloody war.”
The institute noted Syria’s “intensification efforts, which already present a potential for a strategic threat that must be recognized: In the conventional plane – missile capabilities, such as UAVs and air defense; and in the unconventional plane – chemical weapons attack capability; and nuclear capabilities may be developed.”