Hey, remember the time Russia vowed that Syrian missile defense systems would shoot down every incoming projectile targeting regime sites? Well, they were full of it. Early Thursday, Israeli fighter jets struck a weapons depot near the airport in capital city Damascus.
Remember all those stories two months ago about Russia telling Israel it can’t strike in Syria anymore? https://t.co/TjkG25QR72
— Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) April 27, 2017
The depot served as a supply hub for the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite military group Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel. Israeli jets reportedly targeted “arms sent from Iran in commercial and military cargo aircraft,” Reuters reports, citing Syrian rebel and regional intelligence sources.
The air strikes may have been a counter-offensive measure against the deployment of drones coming out of Syria. According to the military officials, Israel’s advanced Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries intercepted a target flying over the Golan Heights, the region bordering northern Israel. Israeli media later reported that the target was an unmanned drone.
“It was the second Israeli interception of a target coming from Syria in the past few weeks,” notes Reuters.
While Syrian state-run media has characterized the air strikes as “Israeli aggression,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, a high-ranking official who is usually loathe to provide any details about military operations, talked about the counter-offensive attack on Army Radio.
“The incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah,” he said, speaking while on a diplomatic mission to the United States. “[Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicates an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act.”
Hezbollah’s al-Manar television has reported that Israel’s air strikes on the weapons depot didn’t produce any casualties.
But Israel’s attack targeted a military installation close to Syria’s capital, sending a message directly to the regime.
The Israeli air strikes come just weeks after the United States deployed 59 precision-guided tomahawk missiles against regime-controlled Shayrat air base near Homs. At the time, President Trump said that the attack was a direct response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people.
Despite the tough-talk from Damascus and regime-patron Moscow, Assad appears to be losing control of Syria’s airspace.
Frustrated by a newfound sense of impotency, the butcher of Damascus claimed Thursday that Israel was “supporting terrorists.” The conspiratorial comments were made during an interview Venezuela’s Telesur channel. It’s unclear if Assad realizes that the political climate in Venezuela, specifically the mass protest events pitting thousands and thousands of hungry and downtrodden Venezuelans against the increasingly oppressive socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro, bears a striking resemblance to the Syrian democratic movement in 2011 when thousands of disillusioned Syrians took to the streets to face-off against the Assad regime’s war machine. Six years later, over a half million Syrians have been killed. Millions of others have been internally displaced or forced to flee their homes as refugees.
Hezbollah is responsible for much of the blood spilled in service of the regime. Employed as de facto mercenaries in Syria, the militant Lebanese terror group functions as a proxy group for the mullahs of Iran. They are trained, paid, and equipped by Tehran to expand Iran’s sphere of influence in the region and spread Islamic Republic’s “revolutionary” Khameneist ideology.
When they’re not fighting the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, the Shiite mercenaries are massacring civilians and battling anti-regime forces in Syria for Iranian-ally Assad.