Israel has had long standing antagonistic relations with its two northern neighbors Lebanon and Syria. Most of the current problems have been centered around the Golan heights in Israel claimed by Syria and Hezbollah a terrorist group backed by Iran. Hezbollah itself is a two-pronged organization that functions both as a Shiite political party and militant group operating primarily in Lebanon but also in Syria. According to the Council on Foreign Relations Hezbollah’s primary doctrines center around anti-western influence and retaking Israel for the Palestinians. Their main suppliers have always been Iran who smuggles weapons through Syria and into Lebanon for Hezbollah’s use. This then has caused Israel to try and carry out attacks against Syrian infrastructure for their own defense, particularly targeting places that can handle military shipments between the two governments.
Israel Bombs Syrian Airport
For the most part in the last decades Russia has acted as Syria’s protector, helping to support the Assad government in the Syrian Civil War. Russia has now been mainly occupied with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine which has stoked Israeli fears that with Russia gone the Iranians may move in to fill the vacuum. This is unacceptable to Israel for the obvious reason, more Iranian guns in Hezbollah’s hands. Since the war between Hezbollah and Israel that took place in 2006 the border between Lebanon and Israel has been rather quiet considering the circumstances. This flare of violence is not uncommon though as Israel has a tendency to involve themselves in other countries when it concerns their national interests even if it violates international law or disrespects borders.
The strike that occurred last week was a major attack on the large commercial airport located in Damascus the capital of Syria. This has probably been the most bold and significant attack in recent years as it directly targeted a large civilian structure in the largest city in the country. It is likely that Israel’s intelligence agency had some kind of report of potential usage of the airport for transporting weapons to be used against Israel and decided to take the initiative to stop them. The usual method for Israel is to remain silent on this type of attack to avoid too much public oversight. Since the strikes the airport has been virtually shut down and the Syrian government has attempted to altogether avoid the topic. Whether or not there will be retaliation for this is unclear but likely.