Just days after the Friday meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Israel has once again launched major strikes on southern Syria, which reportedly struck Hezbollah-linked targets near the border between the two countries.
Damascus says it has a right to respond after the Monday morning attack, describing in a foreign ministry statement: "The Israeli forces this morning showed another aggression in the southern region. This is taking place as part of a series of aggression against Syria's sovereignty."
Syrian media confirmed multiple Israeli missile strikes on Madinat al-Baath on the Syrian side of the Golan border - an attack which was preceded by Israeli forces dropping leaflets over the area warning people there not to cooperate with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group backed by Iran.
Israeli media is reporting that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) used helicopters in the attack:
The three sites were all reportedly connected to Hezbollah’s so-called Golan File, its efforts to establish a front along the Golan border from which it can carry out attacks against Israel.
According to Syrian media, two of the sites were observation posts used by the Lebanese terror group, while the third target was a site just next to a Syrian military facility that Israel has long claimed was working with Hezbollah, the offices of Cpt. Bashar al-Hussein, commander of a reconnaissance company in the Syrian army’s 90th Brigade.
Israeli leaders have for years warned that they will not tolerate a Hezbollah or Iran-linked presence along Israel's border, though for years during the height of the Syrian war al-Qaeda and ISIS groups were entrenched in the same region before being defeated by pro-Assad forces.
Claims that two missile depots hit— Scott Lucas (@ScottLucas_EA) October 25, 2021
Monday attacks come 3 days after #Israel PM Bennett reportedly obtained #Putin acceptance of ongoing Israeli strikes on #Assad, #Iran, & #Hezbollah targets...
And 1 week after Israel allegedly assassinated senior #Assad intell officer#Syria https://t.co/BpglNsqEn4
The timing of Monday's strikes is interesting. Within the past couple weeks Israeli attacks have begun increasing again after prior months of relative quiet. After the Friday Putin-Bennett meeting, the Israeli side said that Russia would not stand in Israel's way if it attacks Iran-linked militants inside Syria.
Israeli media widely reported that Russia essentially gave the greenlight for such operations - though of course Russia has long had strict conditions on any Israeli military activity - especially that such offensives are not to come near Russian bases in Syria.