Israeli Airstrikes Target Syria, Strain Relations Between the Two Nations

Monday, Mar 27, 2017 at 5:20 pm by Zeena Saifi

Since the establishment of Israel, Syria and Israel have been in a state of war, where both countries consider the other its enemy. Currently, Syria refuses citizens with Israeli passports to enter Syria, and in response, Israel generally prohibits its citizens from going there as well.

When the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the state of peace between the two countries became even more strained. The most serious clash since that date took place last Friday when Israeli military conducted several air strikes against Syrian targets. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the strikes were intended to stop the supply of weapons to Hezbollah in neighbouring Lebanon. He claims they targeted a weapons shipment to Iran-backed Hezbollah. Whereas, Syria claims Israel targeted a military site near the ancient city of Palmyra that is strategically important to both the regime as well as its opponents. Usually, Israel’s reported strikes against Syria have taken place around the capital of Damascus.
For some time now, Israel has made it a priority to halt the transfer of weapons from Syria to terror groups, and Hezbollah being one of them. In response, however, Syrian forces shot anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli jets. After which Israeli defence ministers warned to destroy Syria’s air defence system if it fired more missiles. The skirmish did not go unnoticed around the world. Russia expressed displeasure with the military actions and summoned Israel’s ambassador to Moscow to explain why it had fired missiles in the first place. This diplomatic intervention marks the first apparent breakage between Russian and Israeli arrangements over when and who Israeli jets can strike in Syria.