A Critical Overview of Israeli Airstrikes in Southern Aleppo
On July 19, Syrian state media reported that Syrian air defences intercepted an Israeli attack on the Al-Safirah area of southern Aleppo, a region where Israel has frequently targeted a growing Iranian presence. According to a Syrian military spokesperson, the damage caused by the attack is being assessed after air defences downed most of the missiles that targeted a number of unspecified locations. While the Syrian government has never acknowledged the strikes are aimed at Iranian assets, Syrian opposition forces claim that the airstrikes targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases and a weapons plant, continuing Israel’s attacks against Iranian military research and development activities over the past year.
The Significance of the Israeli Airstrikes
The significance of these Israeli airstrikes lies in the fact that they are the first since a new Israeli government led by Naftali Bennett came to power last month. Bennett has vowed to maintain his predecessor’s policy of containing Iran’s military expansion in Syria, a development that the Israeli defense establishment claims has upset the region’s strategic balance. The airstrikes are part of a shadow war approved by the United States, according to Western intelligence sources. These strikes are part of a policy to undermine Iran’s military power without triggering a significant increase in hostilities.
The Syrian-Iranian Relationship
While the Syrian government has claimed that Iranian assets in Syria are limited to a few advisors, Syrian military sources claim that Iran has a strong presence in the province in northern Syria. This presence includes elite Revolutionary Guard officers at the Kuweires military air base, which is 30 kilometers east of the city. The increasing presence of Iranian-backed militias across Syria in the past year has been significant. Thousands of these militias have helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regain territory once lost to insurgents. Therefore, these airstrikes may be seen as a continuation of Israeli attempts to contain Iran’s military expansion in Syria.
The Aftermath of the Israeli Airstrikes
Explosions were heard across Aleppo, which was Syria’s most populated urban centre and a commercial and industrial powerhouse before the war. Authorities stated that work was underway to repair the main electricity cable to the city after a direct hit cut power. An Israeli army spokesperson refused to comment on foreign reports. Israeli officials have previously claimed that missile strikes have slowed Iran’s entrenchment in Syria. Therefore, these airstrikes may be seen as a continuation of Israeli attempts to contain Iran’s military expansion in Syria.
The Israeli airstrikes in southern Aleppo targeting Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases and a weapons plant are a continuation of Israel’s policy of containment of Iran’s military expansion in Syria. While the Syrian government has never acknowledged that the strikes are aimed at Iranian assets, Syrian opposition forces claim that they have targeted Iranian military research and development activities over the past year. The increasing presence of Iranian-backed militias across Syria in the past year has been significant, and the Israeli airstrikes may be seen as an attempt to contain this expansion. However, it is vital to note that Western intelligence sources suggest that Israeli strikes on Syria are part of a shadow war approved by the United States and a policy to undermine Iran’s military power without triggering significant hostilities.