Flashpoint / Global 25 Jan 2023 Golan Heights and South/West Syria Share Facebook Twitter Email Print Back to Map I. Why it Matters Israel’s primary interest in Syria is to prevent a strategic Iranian military presence across Syria, including Iranian construction of military infrastructure and cultivation of local partner forces. Since late 2017 it has targeted Iranian assets in Syria at an increasing pace. These attacks have drawn retaliation, including by Iran, creating the risk that a spiral of escalation will lead to open war between Israel and Iran, which could spill over into Lebanon. In Syria’s south west specifically, Israel has sought to keep Iranian and Iranian-linked forces away from the Golan armistice line, and the risk of Israeli military strikes triggering a broader escalation stands out as the most consequential uncertainty in an attempt by the Assad regime to retake the area from rebel groups. II. Recent Developments 25 January 2023 Iran’s UN envoy told the Security Council that “the presence of foreign forces in the north of Syria under the pretext of combating terrorism should not be used to violate and undermine Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity... In order to create conducive grounds for ending the crisis in Syria, all uninvited foreign forces must leave that country without any precondition or delay, and terrorist groups must be confronted”. He further urged the Council to “compel the Israeli regime to end all acts of aggression against Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity immediately”. View More 13 January 2023 Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi reported that “we crossed 52 operations [against Iranian-related targets] in 2022”, adding: “Iran still has a desire… to put weapons and advanced capabilities in Syria… but there is no doubt that we have prevented what was supposed to be there. They wanted hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles. They wanted tens of thousands of militiamen and a second Hizbollah. All of this was thwarted completely”. Asserting that the IDF had stopped more than 90 per cent of Iranian arms going into Syria, Kohavi noted: “Some of our action is to block the crossings – by air, ground or sea – and some is to hunt what gets in. Just look at the media reports and understand where we operate”. View More 10 January 2023 Prime Minister Netanyahu, visiting IDF Northern Command, asserted that “the main enemy that we face is the terrorist regime in Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. We are determined to fight Iran’s attempts to develop a nuclear arsenal. We are determined to fight any attempt by Iran to entrench militarily in Syria on our northern border. We are determined to fight any attempt by Hizbollah to show aggression against us in Lebanon. Whoever needs a reminder about our red lines on this matter will receive it”. During the same visit, Defence Minister Gallant maintained: “the security establishment will prevent Iran from entrenching in Syria and will sever the channels by which Iranian weaponry is transferred to Lebanon and Hizbollah… In addition to maintaining quiet, we will take strong action against any attempt to attack Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers”. View More 3 January 2023 Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted that “we will work openly, from a position of strength, in the international arena against a return to the nuclear agreement [ie, JCPOA], not only in talks with leaders behind closed doors but strongly and openly in the sphere of global opinion, which is now aware of the true dangers posed by Iran – the Iranian regime that is killing innocent citizens in and beyond Iran”. He added: “In contrast to the prevailing opinion that this dangerous nuclear option has disappeared from the agenda following the recent events in Iran, I think that this possibility has not yet finally disappeared from the agenda”. Netanyahu further affirmed that “we will also take vigorous action to prevent the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and elsewhere and we will not wait”. View More 2 January 2023 Syrian state media reported Israel airstrikes against “Damascus International Airport and its vicinity”, killing two, wounding two others and causing damage to the airport. View More 20 December 2022 The Syrian military reported two injuries and material damage as a result of Israeli airstrikes near Damascus. View More 10 December 2022 Unconfirmed accounts reported an Israeli air strike against “a radar site belonging to the Syrian military” in southern Syria. View More 29 November 2022 Iran’s UN envoy told the Security Council that “security and stability in the north of Syria can only be achieved by preserving and fully respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and any military operation in the north of Syria would only make the already challenging humanitarian situation even worst”, while denouncing what he described as “the robbery of Syrian people’s natural resources, particularly oil products, in areas occupied by foreign forces”. He further asked the Council to condemn “ongoing aggressions and terrorist attacks of the Israeli regime against Syria”. “[Israel’s] systematic and intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly the attacks on commercial airports and humanitarian shipments, are a flagrant violation of international law”, he added, while underscoring Syria’s right to self-defence. View More 23 November 2022 The IRGC announced that a colonel “serving as a military adviser in Syria, was martyred by the Zionist regime’s [ie, Israel’s] agents through a roadside bomb near Damascus”. It added that there would “undoubtedly” be a response. View More 19 November 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes against “some posts in the central and coastal region”, killing four soldiers and injuring one. View More 13 November 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli missile strikes against a “military airport in Homs countryside”, resulting in two deaths and three injuries. View More 8 November 2022 A U.S. official denied U.S. involvement in an airstrike against a purported fuel convoy at the Syria-Iraq border; media reports citing “people familiar with attack” suggested that Israel had been targeting a suspected arms shipment. View More 27 October 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israeli airstrikes had targeted “some positions in the vicinity of Damascus”. View More 24 October 2022 Syrian state media reported an Israeli missile strike against “some positions in the vicinity of Damascus”, injuring one soldier. View More 21 October 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes against “a number of posts in the surroundings of Damascus”. View More 19 September 2022 The IDF reported that it had identified four individuals “hurling objects along the border fence with Syria toward Israel… IDF soldiers crossed the border and operated to stop them by firing toward the legs of one of the suspects. One of the suspects was injured and evacuated by a helicopter to a hospital”. View More 17 September 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israeli airstrikes had targeted Damascus International Airport and some sites south of Damascus, killing five soldiers and causing material damage. View More 11 September 2022 Prime Minister Yair Lapid asserted that “Israel is working to prevent Iran from establishing terrorist bases throughout the Middle East and especially in Syria… Israel will not allow Syria to be used as an axis for the transfer of weapons to terrorist organisations, and will not accept the establishment of Iranian bases or militia bases on our northern border”. The following day, Defence Minister Benny Gantz posited that Iran had built “production facilities [in Syria] for mid- and long-range precise missiles and weapons, provided to Hizbollah and Iranian proxies. In other words, it became yet another Iranian front – a factory for advanced, strategic weapons”. “These sites, particularly the underground facility at Masyaf”, Gantz added, “host significant threats to the region and to the State of Israel… Masyaf, specifically, is used to produce advanced missiles”. He also said, “the Iranians are currently working to build missile and weapon industries in Lebanon and Yemen… If this trend will not be stopped, within a decade, there will be advanced Iranian industries across the region, producing weapons and spreading terror”. View More 6 September 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes at Aleppo International Airport, knocking out the runway. View More 31 August 2022 Syria state media reported Israeli airstrikes against targets in south east of Damascus and Aleppo International Airport; the latter attack caused “severe damage”, according to Syria’s foreign ministry, making the runway unusable. Syria’s foreign minister described the operations as “playing with fire” and warned: “Syria will not remain silent… and the Israelis will pay the price sooner or later”. “The U.S and Western countries should be held responsible for encouraging Israel to increase its aggressions”, he added. View More 25 August 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes around Hama and Tartous, injuring two and causing material damage. View More 14 August 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched missiles against targets near Damascus and Tartous, killing three soldiers and injuring another three. Media reports citing Syrian sources suggested that the former site was manned by Hizbollah, and the latter said to be “an Iranian base”. View More 12 August 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had fired “two tank missiles" at a village in Quneitra, injuring two. View More 22 July 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes against “some points in the vicinity of Damascus”, killing three soldiers and injuring seven. Syria’s foreign ministry wrote to the UN emphasising its “right to respond by appropriate means”, while contending: “These Israeli attacks cannot be treated in isolation from the U.S. aggression… and its occupation of north east Syria, its looting of oil and supplying of weapons to the militias hired by Washington in order to impede the political solution and the restoration of security and stability to Syria”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson denounced the attack, urging the UN Security Council “to deal with continuous crimes and high-risk conduct” of Israel. View More 20 July 2022 Iran, Russia and Turkey convened a meeting of the “Astana Process” talks over Syria and jointly reaffirmed “their determination to continue working together to combat terrorism”, “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives” and “expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that should belong to Syria”. The three countries also condemned “the continuing Israeli military attacks in Syria including civilian infrastructures... as destabilising and intensifying the tension in the region”. View More 20 July 2022 President Raisi told Syria’s foreign minister that “America’s withdrawal from east of the Euphrates and the entire region is the basic and root solution to the crises in West Asia”. The same day, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian conferred with his Syrian counterpart on “ways forward for all-out expansion of ties between the two countries, regional developments and international issues”. View More 6 July 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched a rocket that struck near Quneitra, killing one. View More 3 July 2022 During a visit to Damascus, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian told President Bashar al-Assad that “we are opposed to use of military operations to resolve problems… Problems must be solved and concerns must be dispelled through direct talks and cooperation”. He also offered “unwavering support for the resistance to ensure lasting security in the region against the threats posed by the fake Israeli regime”. Amirabdollahian also conferred with his Syrian counterpart on “the capacities of both states for further enhancement of mutual relations in political, economic, industrial and commercial fields”, noting that “Iran’s technical and engineering capabilities can contribute to the implementation of the two countries’ joint big projects”. View More 2 July 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “carried out an air missile aggression… [against] several poultry farms” in western Syria, resulting in two civilian injuries and material damage. View More 10 June 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted air strikes against “some post south of Damascus”, injuring one and causing material damage. Service at Damascus airport was halted, with the transport ministry asserting that the strike “caused heavy damages to the airport’s infrastructure”. Speaking with his Syrian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian condemned the attack and asserted Iran would “always stand with the government and people of Syria”. View More 6 June 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted air strikes against “some sites south of Damascus City”, causing material damage. View More 24 May 2022 Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian conferred with his Syrian counterpart on bilateral relations while reiterating “Iran’s determination to provide necessary assistance to Syria to overcome the negative impacts of the Western coercive measures imposed on the country”. View More 20 May 2022 Syrian state media reported three fatalities in what it said were Israeli missile strikes south of Damascus. View More 17 May 2022 Referring to the transfer by Iran of what he described as “accurate munitions” to its regional allies, Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared: “Israel will continue to halt these efforts and prevent the threat to its citizens and the region”, adding: “The quantity of this strategic weapon in the hands of Iranian emissaries has increased significantly in the past year. In Iraq, there are hundreds of [munitions]; many dozens have been added this year. In Yemen, the number of [munitions] has increased in the past year, and the Huthis hold dozens of them”. View More 16 May 2022 Visiting Northern Command, Defence Minister Benny Gantz asserted that “Israel will continue to act against any enemy that threatens it, and prevent the transfer of advanced capabilities from Iran that endanger the citizens of Israel and harm the stability of the entire region”. He further described the objective of a month-long military exercise as “preparing for various scenarios against our enemies in the various theaters, and against Hizbollah and Hamas, which also operates from Lebanon”. View More 13 May 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli missile strikes against “some points in the central region”, causing five civilian fatalities and injuries to seven to others. View More 12 May 2022 The U.S. announced a general license “authorising specific economic activities in certain non-regime-held areas of north east and north west Syria”, asserting that it “supports the Biden Administration’s strategy to defeat ISIS by promoting economic stabilisation in areas liberated from the terrorist group’s control”. The State Department noted that “the authorisation does not permit any activity with the Government of Syria or other sanctions persons”, and went on to underscore that it did “not indicate any shift in the Administration’s policy towards the Assad regime”. View More 11 May 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli missile strikes in Quneitra, causing material loss; there were further reports of artillery fire in the area. View More 8 May 2022 President Bashar al-Assad visited Tehran and met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Raisi. View More 27 April 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes “targeting some sites in the vicinity of Damascus”, killing four soldiers and injuring three. View More 25 April 2022 The IDF reported that an Israeli drone had landed in Syrian territory during what it described as routine activity, with “no fear of information leak“. View More 14 April 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes near Damascus, causing material damage. View More 11 April 2022 Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz indicated that “Israel is operating against weapons transfers and other Iranian threats. In the recent period, we are seeing more stability in Syria and I see that there is some activity between Syria and members of the Arab League. If Assad wishes to be part of the [near] region, he will have to [cut] his negative ties to Iran and the terror that emanates from Syria”. View More 9 April 2022 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes in the central region, causing material damage. View More 4 April 2022 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi assessed that Israeli strikes “had a decisive impact on preventing the entrenchment of Iranian forces in Syria, on preventing the establishment of Hizbollah forces in the southern Golan Heights, on preventing enemy intensification with advanced weapons systems, and on the direct and immediate thwarting of threats to infiltrate Israel”. View More 24 March 2022 Iran’s UN envoy told the Security Council that “Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be jeopardised in the name of fighting terrorism.… All occupying and uninvited foreign forces, including those of the U.S., must leave the country immediately and without any conditions”. He further denounced Israel’s “repeated violations of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, urging the Council to hold Israel “accountable for such acts of aggression and malice, as well as its blatant threats to use force against other regional countries”. View More 23 March 2022 During a visit to Damascus, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian conferred with President Bashar al-Assad on, inter alia, “the expansion of economic cooperation” and also hailed “the trend of the normalisation of ties between regional countries and Syria”, while highlighting that “as for regional tensions, the Islamic Republic opposes any war and supports resolution of disputes through dialogue and political means”. View More 18 March 2022 CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie indicated that “I do worry about… [military] exchanges between Iran and Israel because many times, our forces are at risk, whether we’re in Iraq or in Syria”. View More 15 March 2022 CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie described Iran as “the greatest single day-to-day threat to regional security and stability”, noting that “the risk of miscalculation and escalation remains high because of Iran's strategic calculation that it can simultaneously and discretely engage in diplomacy with and a proxy campaign against the U.S.”. McKenzie's statement to a Senate committee further addressed the role of Iran and Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. View More 7 March 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted missile strikes near Damascus, killing two and causing material damage. The following day, Iran announced the death of two IRGC members in the attack, warning that Israel would “pay the price of this atrocity”. On 10 March, Iran’s UN ambassador told the Security Council that “Iran reserves its inherent right to self-defence… to respond to such criminal act whenever it deems appropriate”. View More 26 February 2022 Iran’s UN ambassador told the Security Council that “the fight against terrorism cannot be used as an excuse to undermine Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The illegal presence of foreign forces in parts of Syria which has provided favorable conditions for terrorist activities in Syria, must end immediately”. The Iranian diplomat further denounced Israel’s “repeated violations of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity… We call on the Security Council to hold this regime accountable for such acts of aggression and its malign activities as well as its open threats to use force against other regional countries”. The following day, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, met with his Syrian counterpart. View More 24 February 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted “an aerial aggression with bursts of missiles” against sites near Damascus, killing three soldiers and causing material damages. View More 23 February 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched surface-to-surface missiles against “areas in the vicinity of Quneitra… causing material damages”. View More 17 February 2022 The Israeli military reported intercepting “a Hizbollah drone that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli airspace”, and in a second incident downed a drone launched by Hamas in Gaza. View More 16 February 2022 Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah remarked that “we now possess the ability to transform our thousands of rockets into precision-guided missiles… We started that years ago and converted a large number of our missiles into precision-guided ones, so we do not need to bring them from Iran”. “We have been producing drones in Lebanon for a long time”, he added. Nasrallah further noted that Israel “tries throughout its aggression in Syria to prevent the reach of precision-guided weapons to the resistance in Lebanon. I tell the Israelis that what they call a ‘battle between wars’ has turned the threat into an opportunity for the resistance”. View More 16 February 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression with a number of ground-to-ground missiles”, causing material damages near Damascus. View More 13 February 2022 Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid underscored that “there’s a good mechanism with… the Russians in Syria. Israel, as usual, will operate as it sees fit to protect its security in all theaters, and will not accept long-term Iranian presence on its northern border”. View More 9 February 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched airstrikes and surface-to-surface fire against targets near Damascus, killing one soldier and injuring five. Syrian air defences were activated and the Israeli military confirmed that “an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria and exploded mid-air”, in response to which the IDF “struck surface-to-air missile targets in Syria, including radar and anti-aircraft batteries”. View More 3 February 2022 President Biden announced that “we have taken off the battlefield… the leader of ISIS” as the result of a military operation in north-western Syria. View More 31 January 2022 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression with bursts of missiles… targeting some points in the vicinity of Damascus”, causing “material damage”. Unconfirmed accounts claimed that “Hizbollah positions, outposts and weapon depots” were targeted. View More 31 January 2022 A U.S. diplomatic spokesperson reaffirmed that “we continue to believe that now is not the time for normalisation [with Syria under Assad]. Now continues to be the time for accountability for the atrocities of the regime”. View More 28 January 2022 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett remarked that “we and the Americans don’t see everything eye to eye… A deal that will send tens of billions of dollars to this rotten and weak regime will be a mistake”. “We think Iran is in a difficult situation”, Bennett added. “They’re very weak, and we must not give them a tailwind of money, and we relay this message. But the Israeli strategy doesn’t depend on whether there’s an agreement or not… Even if there is an agreement, we’re not committed to it”. The prime minister went on to describe two objectives for Israel’s strategy: “to roll back Iran’s regional influence… [and] keep Iran significant far from nuclear breakout forever”. View More 26 January 2022 The U.S.’s UN envoy told the Security Council that Washington’s goals in Syria included “sustaining the U.S. and Coalition campaign to prevent the resurgence of ISIS… [and] to support a political process, one led by the Syrian people, as envisioned and agreed by this Council in Resolution 2254”. During the same session, Iran’s ambassador maintained that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria continues to be seriously violated either through the occupation of parts of the country or by the aggression of the Israeli regime and the terrorists… While the Syrian crisis has no military solution, it cannot also come to an end without ending its occupation, restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity and confronting the threat of terrorism”. View More 5 January 2022 The Israeli military reported that IDF tanks had “fired shells aimed at chasing away... suspects” near the Syrian border. View More 28 December 2021 Israel’s military chief of staff assessed that “the increase in the scope of operations over the past year has led to a significant disruption of all smuggling routes into various arenas by our enemies… But we still have a long way to go to complete our goals in this arena”. View More 28 December 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression with a wave of missiles… targeting the container yard at the commercial port in Latakia”, causing “significant material damages”. Unconfirmed accounts claimed that “two members of a pro-regime militia were killed” and three others injured. The same day, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, without commenting on the incident, affirmed that “Israel will not allow Iran to stream game-changing weapons to its proxies and to threaten our citizens”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson condemned the attack. View More 20 December 2021 An Iranian diplomat told the Security Council that it “must compel the Israeli regime to end the occupation of the Syrian Golan and also stop immediately its aggressions against Syria”, adding: “all occupying and uninvited foreign forces must leave that country without any precondition or further delay”. View More 16 December 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli “aerial aggression through launching waves of missiles… targeting some sites in the southern region”, killing one and causing material damage. View More 7 December 2021 The U.S. designated “two Syrian Air Force officers responsible for chemical weapons attacks on civilians, and three Syrian intelligence officers in Syria’s repressive security and intelligence apparatus”. View More 7 December 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had fired “several missiles… targeting the container yards at the commercial port of Latakia”. In subsequent remarks, Prime Minister Bennett, while not addressing the incident specifically, asserted: “we’re pushing back on the bad forces of this region, day and night… This happens almost daily. In the face of destructive forces, we will continue to act, we will be persistent and we will not tire”. View More 7 December 2021 U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assessed that “since Donald Trump made the decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018, Hizbollah has continued to menace Lebanon and the region. Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria and Yemen have continued to move forward. So, not being in the nuclear deal has hardly been a solution to the proxy”. He further asserted that “nothing about the nuclear deal stops the U.S.’s capacity to deal with those proxies. And we are prepared to do so”, adding: “ultimately, an Iran with a nuclear weapon is going to be a greater menace in partnerships with its proxies than Iran without one. And so it is our determination to ensure they never get a nuclear weapon, and diplomacy is the best way forward”. View More 6 December 2021 Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian met with his Syrian counterpart and noted “the need for special focus on promoting economic and trade relations”. He further denounced “the Zionist [ie, Israeli] regime’s aggression against Syria”, and charachterised “the military presence of foreign forces without coordination with and permission from the Syrian government as a source of insecurity in the region, particularly in Syria”. The Syrian minister also met with President Raisi, who asserted that “comprehensive planning should be done to develop and deepen relations”. View More 24 November 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched “a wave of missiles… targeting some posts in the central region”, resulting in two fatalities, seven injuries and material damages. View More 23 November 2021 Calling Iran “Israel’s single most significant enemy”, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett maintained that “Iran is further along in its nuclear program than ever before and its enrichment machine is more advanced and broader… Iran has also been consistently and persistently successful in encircling Israel in rings of militias and rockets from every direction”. Bennett proceeded to lay out four conclusions from a review of Israel’s Iran policy, and, positing that “we are at a significant point in this battle – Israel vs Iran”, asserted: “even if there is a return to the JCPOA, Israel obviously is not a party to the agreement and is not obligated by it… We will maintain our freedom of action”. View More 17 November 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had launched “two missiles… targeting an empty building south of Damascus”, adding: “one of the hostile missiles was downed, and no losses were reported”. View More 16 November 2021 On the sideline of a military drill in northern Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asserted that “we are surrounded by security challenges and the goal is to utilise periods of relative quiet to build up strength”, adding: “we are dealing with Iran and its proxies, in Lebanon and Syria. It does not matter what occurs between Iran and the major powers. We are concerned by the fact that there is not enough firmness in the face of the Iranian violations; Israel will defend itself, by itself”. Speaking alongside Bennett, Defence Minister Benny Gantz remarked that “the world needs to take action against Iran, and Israel needs to continue to do what it needs to on all fronts in general, and on the northern front in particular”. View More 12 November 2021 The U.S. State Department underscored that “terrorist groups like ISIS in Syria directly threaten U.S. national security and the Syrian people. The U.S. remains committed to the military mission against ISIS. We will maintain our mission in Syria until the threat posed by the terrorist group is eliminated”. View More 9 November 2021 Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz maintained that “on an operational level, we are acting extensively. We won’t allow Hizbollah and other Iranian proxies in the area to be equipped with weaponry that will harm Israel’s [military] superiority in the region”. Relatedly, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, told Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that “the IDF will continue to act to remove threats and will respond forcefully to any violation of [Israeli] sovereignty, in Gaza or in the north”, adding: “[the army] is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat”. View More 8 November 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted airstrikes against “a number of posts in the [country’s] central and coastal” regions, injuring two. Unconfirmed accounts claim the targets were “Iranian-controlled weapons caches”. The Russian army later confirmed that “the Israeli air force… launched eight guided missiles at logistical and military support facilities of the Syrian armed forces in the Homs governorate. Syrian air defence units destroyed six of those missiles using Russian-made… air defence systems”. View More 3 November 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression with a number of missiles… targeting one of the posts in [the] Damascus countryside”. View More 30 October 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “fired a salvo of surface-to-surface missiles from northern occupied Palestine targeting positions near Damascus”, injuring two. Unconfirmed accounts said the target had been a weapons convoy, and put the toll at five fatalities. View More 27 October 2021 Iran’s UN envoy told the Security Council that “the occupation of parts of Syria by foreign forces must come to an end... all occupying and uninvited foreign forces must leave that country without any precondition or further delay”. He further urged the Council to “compel the Israeli regime to end the occupation of the Syrian Golan and also stop immediately its aggressions against Syria”. The official also denounced “in the strongest terms” the killing of a former Syrian lawmaker, which he attributed to Israel, “as well as all violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria by the Israeli regime”, noting “Syria’s inherent right to self-defence and to respond at a time and place of its choosing”. View More 25 October 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted an “aggression on the southern region”, which unconfirmed reports speculated had been targeting Syrian military or allied facilities in Quneitra province. A Syrian foreign ministry source denounced the attack and underscored Damascus’s “right and ability to respond”. View More 22 October 2021 Meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett indicated that the two would “discuss the situation in Syria and, of course, our efforts to halt the Iranian military nuclear program”. An Israeli minister accompanying the prime minister subsequently stated that Bennett had “presented his world view on ways to stop Iran’s nuclear drive and Iran’s entrenchment in Syria”, adding that “it was decided to keep policies vis-a-vis Russia in place [regarding airstrikes in Syrian territory]”. View More 16 October 2021 The Syrian government accused Israel of killing a former Syrian lawmaker who headed the cabinet’s Golan portfolio. View More 13 October 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes near Palmyra, which according to an unnamed military source killed one soldier and injured three. Iran-linked forces in Syria confirmed “a number” of casualties and said that had “taken a decision to respond to this attack… and the response will be very cruel”. View More 13 October 2021 Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that “keeping violence down; increasing humanitarian assistance and focusing our military efforts on any terrorist groups that pose a threat to us or to our partners, with the intent and capacity to do that… are going to be the critical areas of focus for us, and they’re also, I think, important to advancing a broader political settlement to the Syrian conflict consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254”. He further noted that “what we have not done and what we do not intend to do is to express any support for efforts to normalise relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad, or lifted a single sanction on Syria or changed our position to oppose the reconstruction of Syria until there is irreversible progress toward a political solution”. View More 11 October 2021 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asserted that “Iran, which has dispatched proxies and built armies to surround the State of Israel, aspires to build yet another army on the border of the Golan Heights. We will continue to act wherever and whenever necessary, at our initiative, and on a daily basis, in order to roll up the Iranian presence in Syria. They have nothing to look for there”. View More 9 October 2021 Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian visited Damascus and met with President Bashar al-Assad and other senior Syrian officials. During his trip, Amirabdollahian asserted that “our ties with Syria are strategic and we are trying to expand our cooperation with the country in all fields. Syria is on the path of development and progress, and on this path, Iran will strongly stand by Damascus, as it did during the war on terrorists”. View More 8 October 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes at the T-4 base near Homs, and cited an unnamed military source saying that “six soldiers were injured in the aggression which also caused material damages”. View More 28 September 2021 Iran’s UN ambassador told the Security Council that “occupation of parts of Syria by foreign forces must come to an end. Accordingly, all uninvited foreign forces must leave that country without any precondition or further delay”. He further maintained that “the Security Council must live up to its responsibility and compel the Israeli regime to put an immediate end to its acts of aggression against sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria”, adding: “such adventuristic practices, which we condemn in the strongest terms, constitute flagrant violations of international law, threatening regional and international peace and security”. View More 27 September 2021 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the UN General Assembly that “Israel is, quite literally, surrounded by Hizbollah, Shiite militias, Islamic Jihad and Hamas... And they’re all backed by Iran. They get their funding from Iran, they get their training from Iran, and they get their weapons from Iran”. Bennett also said that “just this year, Iran made operational a new deadly terror unit — swarms of killer UAVs armed with lethal weapons that can attack any place any time… Iran plans to arm its proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon with hundreds and then thousands of these deadly drones”. View More 23 September 2021 Hizbollah reported that “the second ship delivering diesel oil from the Islamic Republic [of Iran] docked in [Syria’s] Banias Port”. View More 22 September 2021 The Israeli military confirmed that one its drones had crashed “due to a technical malfunction” in the course of “routine operational activity” in Syria. View More 9 September 2021 Foreign Minister Yair Lapid contended that “there won’t be stability in Syria, or in the wider Middle East, while there is an Iranian presence… [Israel] will not sit quietly by while Iran builds terror bases on our northern border or while Iran supplies advanced weapons to terror organisations”. View More 6 September 2021 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi maintained that “a significant chunk of the boost to the defence budget” related to “greatly accelerated” planning for operations targeting Iran’s nuclear program, adding: “It’s a very complicated job, with much more intelligence, much more operational capabilities, much more armaments. We’re working on all these things”. He also indicated that the Israeli military’s priority was “minimising Iranian presence in the Middle East, with an emphasis on Syria. But these operations take place throughout the Middle East. They’re also against Hamas, against Hizbollah”. “[Israeli strikes] greatly diminished Iran’s presence and weaponry in the northern arena, certainly in comparison to what they sought”, Kohavi asserted, also noting that the IDF had been “very active in disrupting the smuggling routes of Hizbollah, of Hamas, of Iran, in all regions”. View More 3 September 2021 Syrian state media reported an Israeli airstrike targeting the vicinity of Damascus. The IDF subsequently indicated that debris from a Syrian surface-to-air missile had fallen in Israeli territory, and according to local media the Israeli Air Force targeted its Syrian point of origin. View More 29 August 2021 Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian visited Syria and met with senior officials including President Bashar al-Assad. According to a Syrian readout, the two conferred on, inter alia, “steps… to enhance bilateral cooperation with the aim of reaching a higher level of partnerships at various levels, particularly in the economic and trade fields, in a way that enables the two peoples to continue facing the repercussions of the blockade and sanctions imposed on the two countries”. View More 20 August 2021 Syria state media reported “an Israeli missile aggression on the surroundings of Damascus and Homs cities”. View More 17 August 2021 Syria state media reported what it claimed were Israeli missile strikes around Quneitra. View More 15 August 2021 The Israeli military reported that one of its drones suffered a “technical malfunction” and crashed while undertaking “routine activities” in Syrian territory. View More 9 August 2021 The U.S. announced that it had “applied the measures authorised in Section 3 of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act” against, inter alia, Kataeb Hizbollah, Asaeb Ahl al-Haq and Lebanese Hizbollah. View More 4 August 2021 The Israeli military reported that “three rockets were… fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel. Two rockets landed in Israel”. In response, the IDF conducted artillery strikes against “targets along the Lebanese border”, and underscored that “the Lebanese government is responsible for all attacks from Lebanon”. Defence Minister Benny Gantz subsequently maintained that “our actions overnight were meant to send a clear message that we will not accept such attacks. I hope we are not forced into further action”. “Lebanon is in a state of chaos caused in a large extend by the Hizbollah terror group”, he added. View More 3 August 2021 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asserted: “regarding the ship and the Iranian issue in general: We are working on enlisting the world but at the same time, we also know how to act alone. Iran already knows the price that we exact when someone threatens our security. The Iranians need to understand that it is impossible to sit peacefully in Tehran and from there ignite the entire Middle East”. “Against Iran, speeches are not enough”, Bennett added. View More 28 July 2021 The U.S. designated “eight Syrian prisons run by the Assad regime’s intelligence apparatus… and five senior security officials of regime entities that control these detention facilities”. It also blacklisted “Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sharqiya… [and] two of the group’s leaders”. View More 25 July 2021 A Russian military official reported that Syrian air defences had intercepted two Israeli strikes against targets in Damascus governate. View More 22 July 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli missile strikes near Homs. View More 19 July 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes near Aleppo. The Israeli army subsequently confirmed that “two rockets were fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel”, which was followed by Israeli artillery fire into Lebanon. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that “we will not allow harm to Israel’s sovereignty and security. Whoever tries to harm us will pay a painful price”. He further contended that “Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like any country in which Iran bases itself… Its citizens were taken hostage by Khamenei and Nasrallah for the sake of Iranian interests”. “This is unfortunate, but we will not accept a spillover of the situation in Lebanon into Israel”, he added. View More 28 June 2021 The foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS issued a joint statement expressing their commitment “to strengthening cooperation across all Coalition lines of effort in order to ensure that Daesh/ISIS Core in Iraq and Syria”. On Iraq, they deplored “the continuing attacks against Coalition personnel and convoys, and diplomatic facilities, emphasising the importance of the Government of Iraq protecting Coalition assets”, while hailing “the incremental expansion of NATO’s non-combat advisory, training and capacity building mission”. Regarding Syria, the ministers backed “a lasting political settlement in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254”, while noting that “the Coalition continues to support inclusive local recovery and stabilisation in areas liberated from Daesh/ISIS and reconciliation and reintegration efforts to foster conditions conducive to a Syria-wide political resolution to the conflict under the parameters of UN Security Council Resolution 2254”. View More 28 June 2021 The U.S. along with eighteen countries, the League of Arab States and the European Union jointly reiterated “strong support for UN-led efforts to implement all aspects of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, including continued support for an immediate nation-wide ceasefire, the unimpeded and safe delivery of aid, and the Constitutional Committee, as well as fighting against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”. Emphasising “the unity and territorial integrity of Syria”, they expressed commitments “to continue working actively to reach a credible, sustainable and inclusive political solution based on Resolution 2254”. View More 24 June 2021 Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz asserted that “we wish for peace and calm, but we are willing to use our full capabilities should we be required on any front, including the Lebanese front. Attempts to sabotage the quiet on our borders have not gone unnoticed, and we are opening our eyes and acting routinely, and we are prepared for extensive activities even in an emergency”. President Rivlin, too, indicated that “we know the threat is still grave... We are aware of Hizbollah’s attempts to continue to grow stronger with Iranian support and arm itself with weapons whose only purpose is to harm the State of Israel’s Homefront”. He further reiterated that “Israel will not allow Iran to establish itself in Lebanon. The State of Israel will not allow Iran to send its satellite states here, to the Middle East”. View More 17 June 2021 Media reports indicated that the Israeli military had “struck a Syrian outpost near the city of Quneitra” with tank fire. View More 8 June 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression from the Lebanese airspace against some targets in the central and southern regions”. View More 1 June 2021 An Israeli military spokesperson reported that the IDF had “destroyed a forward observation post of the Syrian army that was set up in an Israeli area west of the Alfa line in the Golan Heights”, asserting that Israel would not “tolerate any attempt to violate [its] sovereignty”. View More 26 May 2021 Addressing the UN Security Council, Iran’s envoy called for preserving “the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria through ending the occupation of its territory including the occupied Syrian Golan, withdrawing of all uninvited foreign forces from that country, ceasing to support any separatist tendencies or illegitimate self-rule initiatives and preventing the violation of Syrian sovereignty particularly by acts of aggression of the Israeli regime”. View More 25 May 2021 A Pentagon spokesperson underscored that “nothing’s changed about the [U.S.’s] mission in Syria, which is about counter-ISIS operations, in keeping with the work that the coalition has been doing since 2014. It is certainly a small presence, less than 1,000”. He also indicated that “we as a government would simply urge all actors act in such a way inside Syria so as to not contribute more to the instability, the insecurity and rather in fact contribute to a peaceful political outcome”. View More 20 May 2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted that “while we’re fighting on various fronts, the true backer of much of this aggression is Iran. Iran not only supports completely the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and gives them all the finance, they also give weapons to Hamas as well as to Hizbollah and they provide the scaffolding on which these organisations really work”. He also indicated that “a few days ago, Iran sent an armed drone from Iraq or from Syria… which our forces intercepted on the border between Israel and Jordan and that I think says everything on the true patron of terror in the Middle East and in the world: Iran”. In related remarks, Netanyahu contended that “the support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad comes from Iran. If you take away Iranian support, both of them would collapse in two weeks”. View More 17 May 2021 The Israeli military indicated that “six rockets were… fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel, all of which fell inside Lebanon. In response, our artillery forces fired toward the sources of the launches”. An Israeli military spokesperson was cited as saying that “a small Palestinian faction… was responsible”. The following day, the IDF reported intercepting “a UAV [which had] approached the Israeli border near the Jordan Valley”. View More 14 May 2021 The Israeli military reported that “IDF tanks fired warning shots toward a number of rioters who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory. The suspects sabotaged the fence and set a fire in the area before returning to Lebanese territory”. Media reports noted one Lebanese fatality who was identified as a Hizbollah member, and President Aoun “strongly condemned the crime committed by Israeli forces”. Later in the day, the IDF indicated that “three rockets were... fired from Syria toward Israel, one of which fell in Syria”. View More 12 May 2021 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with his Syrian counterpart and discussed, inter alia, “Tehran’s support for the Syrian nation and government against the inauspicious phenomena of extremism and terrorism”; Zarif also posited that U.S. sanctions were “depriving the Iranian and Syrian people of [the] COVID-19 vaccine”. According to an Iranian readout, the Syrian official “appreciated Iran’s support for the people and government of Syria, and underlined the necessity of the two countries’ cooperation”. Zarif also met President Bashar al-Assad and noted the “role that can be played… by pioneering countries behind the Axis of Resistance” in supporting the Palestinian cause, and updated Assad regarding “the latest developments in the Vienna nuclear talks… as well as the regional movements of the Islamic Republic of Iran in relations with other countries in the region”. View More 10 May 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted an air strike near Quneitra, injuring one person. View More 9 May 2021 Syrian state media reported that a “technical fault” resulted in a fire aboard an oil tanker off the Syrian coast. View More 6 May 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had conducted air strikes near Quneitra. View More 5 May 2021 Syrian state media reported that Israel had “launched an aerial aggression… targeting some positions in the coastal region”, killing one person and injuring six. View More 29 April 2021 Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen maintained that “a bad deal [with Iran] will send the region spiraling into war… Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term”. He further asserted that “Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms. Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East - and certainly Iran”. Relatedly, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. underlined that “the freedom of action of Israel to prevent Iran from becoming an existential threat is a freedom of action that will be preserved… [and] the current [U.S.] government respects”. He also indicated that in bilateral discussions, Israel and the U.S. “agreed on the principle of transparency and not to surprise each other [regarding the Vienna talks] and I think we are both keeping to it”. View More 29 April 2021 Discussing Iran-Israel tensions, CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie stressed that “it is not our desire to have a war with Iran. And we would hope it is not their desire to have a war with us… There is a low-level conflict that’s being fought out across the theater. But we do not intend to enter that conflict”. View More 27 April 2021 U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley reported a “good discussion… with our GCC partners regarding the status of JCPOA talks and regional security” as nuclear negotiations resumed in Vienna. The same day, senior Israeli and U.S. national security officials convened for discussions in Washington, and per a White House readout “discussed their serious concerns about advancements in Iran’s nuclear program in recent years”; the two sides also “agreed on the significant threat posed by Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region”, with the U.S. side expressing “President Biden’s unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself”. They also formed “an inter-agency working group to focus particular attention on the growing threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Precision Guided Missiles produced by Iran and provided to its proxies”. View More 24 April 2021 Syria’s oil ministry reported a fire aboard a tanker off its coast and said the cause was “believed to be an attack by a drone coming from the direction of Lebanese territorial waters”. However, Iranian media subsequently cited a Syrian military official indicating that the “accident occurred due to carelessness and lack of safety measures”. View More 22 April 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes against sites near Damascus, injuring four, and added: “The army air defences intercepted the hostile missiles and downed most of them”. The Israel Defense Forces subsequently confirmed that “a surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev. In response we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria”. U.S. Central Command Commander Frank McKenzie assessed that the Syrians “were responding to Israeli strikes on targets in Syria… I do not believe it was an intentional attack, but just rather a lack of capability on the part of the Syrian air defenders”. View More 20 April 2021 Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz affirmed that the IDF “is ideally prepared along the northern border and definitely on the Lebanese front”, adding: “We are aware of Hizbollah’s attempts to challenge us in new ways… We will deal with any threat. If Hizbollah challenges the IDF and the State of Israel, it will suffer very, very heavy consequences and I hope they don’t do that”. View More 13 April 2021 The U.S. Intelligence Community’s 2021 Annual Threat Assessment indicated that “Iran is determined to maintain influence in Syria… [It] is pursuing a permanent military presence and economic deals in Syria as the conflict winds down there. Tehran almost certainly wants these things to build its regional influence, support Hizbollah and threaten Israel”. The report further assessed that “U.S. forces in eastern Syria will face threats from Iranian and Syrian-regime-aligned groups, mostly through deniable attacks”. View More 11 April 2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu maintained that “the fight against Iran and its metastases and against Iranian armament is a huge task. The situation as it exists today is not necessarily how it will exist tomorrow”. In related comments, Israel’s military chief of staff remarked that “the Israel Defense Forces’ actions throughout the Middle East are not hidden from our enemies’ eyes. They are watching us, seeing our capabilities and carefully considering their next steps”. View More 8 April 2021 The Syrian defence ministry reported that Israeli airstrikes targeted the vicinity of Damascus, injuring four and causing material damage. View More 30 March 2021 The U.S. unveiled “more than $596 million in new humanitarian assistance to respond to the Syrian crisis”, with the U.S. UN ambassador underscoring the importance of “unhindered humanitarian access and aid to all Syrians in need through all avenues available, including through cross-border assistance”. View More 16 March 2021 Syrian state media reported Israeli missile strikes on “some targets in the surroundings of Damascus”, which unconfirmed reports identified as “two ammunition depots belonging to Iranian militias”. View More 15 March 2021 Marking the tenth anniversary of the Syrian war, the U.S., jointly with the E3 and Italy, issued a statement urging “the regime and its supporters [to] engage seriously in the political process” and reaffirming “the pursuit of a peaceful solution which protects the rights and future of all Syrians, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254”. Relatedly, Iran UN envoy urged “the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces present in Syria without the permission of its Government, particularly U.S. forces”, adding: “We condemn the continued Israeli military attacks in Syria. They are unlawful, provocative, and destabilising. That regime must be compelled to put an end to such military adventurism”. View More 11 March 2021 A U.S. diplomatic spokesperson reiterated that “we’ll use a variety of tools at our disposal to push for a sustainable end to the Syrian people’s suffering. We’ll continue to support the UN’s role in negotiating a political settlement in line with the relevant UN resolutions, including UNSCR 2254”. “If there is to be a sustainable end to this conflict, we recognise that the Syrian Government must change its behaviour”, the spokesperson asserted, adding: “Bashar al-Assad has not done anything that would restore his legitimacy… There is no question of the U.S. normalising relations with his government anytime soon. There is no question that we will stand, that we will seek to support the humanitarian plight of the Syrian people as we seek a political settlement”.