Air raid sirens “sounded in the area of the Golan Heights” early Thursday morning, according to a terse statement from the Israeli military, sparking alarm amid eyewitness reports that forces in Syria had engaged Israel Defense Forces personnel in retaliation for repeated airstrikes against military targets across the war-torn country.
- An IDF spokesman claimed that Iranian Qods forces in Syria had launched “about 20 projectiles” at the Israeli military’s forward defensive line in the Golan Heights; however, local Syrian news outlets reported that the Syrian Army had also targeted Israeli military positions there.
— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) May 9, 2018
- The strikes were neutralized by Israeli interceptors, with zero injuries reported on the ground. On May 8th, the IDF had reportedly identified “irregular activity” by Iranian forces in Syria and it instructed local authorities in the Golan Heights area to “ready bomb shelters, deployed new defenses and mobilized some reservist forces,” according to Reuters.
A number of rockets were intercepted by the IDF's Iron Dome aerial defense system. No injuries were reported. The IDF views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 9, 2018
- The reported attack comes hours after UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli airstrikes carried out early Wednesday morning had killed 15 people at Iranian military installations just south of the Syrian capital of Damascus, per Reuters.
- Israel has carried out several airstrikes against military sites associated with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, starting with the alleged April 9 bombardment of the critical T-4 airbase in the Homs province. The strikes targeted facilities used by both those Qods forces and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and killed seven Iranian military personnel.
- While the trilateral U.S.-UK-French strikes authorized by President Donald Trump on April 13 appear to be a once-a-year-tradition, the IDF has taken increasingly decisive military action against sites in Syria as a warning to both Iran and Russia.
It’s certainly worth noting that news of direct conflict between the IDF and Iranian forces in Syria comes the day after President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a move that could potentially embolden Israel to pursue unilateral action against the Iranian regime.