Israel’s retaliation air strikes in Syria kill two civilians

Buildings damaged by Israeli rocket attack in Damascus. Buildings damaged by Israeli rocket attack in Damascus. SANA Agency

Israel responds to Iranian failed rocket attack by targeting its military personnel in Damascus

On 20 November, Israeli air strikes hit Damascus, killing two civilians, a man and a woman, and between 10 and 20 military personnel. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least seven of the casualties were not of Syrian nationality; the figures were confirmed by an Israeli official who stated that two-thirds of the fatalities were Iranian military personnel. Syrian state news agency (SANA) reported that Israeli warplanes fired their missiles both from the occupied Golan Heights and from the direction of Marjayoun, a Southern Lebanese city.

The incident allegedly comes  as retaliation for an attempted rocket attack by Iranian forces in Syria targeting Israel on 17 November. Israeli military said the four missiles were stopped before they could reach the targets. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu commented the incident “whoever hurts us, we will hurt him”, stressing Israel’s strong military stand. Israel also declared that it has been openly targeting Iranian forces in Syria, opposing their attempt to establish a permanent presence in the territory and their cooperation with Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iranian forces in Damascus support Syrian President Bashar-al Assad and pro-government forces against the various rebel groups.

The recent attacks add complexity to an already troubled time for both factions and the region as a whole. Iran is facing protests in its own territory for the recent increase in fuel prices caused by the restoration of U.S. sanctions and it is losing its political grip in Lebanon and Iraq due to the ongoing popular uprisings in the two countries. In addition, power dynamics and insecurity in the region is heightened by the new U.S. stand over Israeli settlements in West Bank and the latest news of Israeli PM Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges that leaves uncertainty over the next Israeli political chapter. 


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Author: Annette Savoca


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