Netanyahu: Airstrikes Deal ‘Severe Blows’ to Iran and Syria

Sudden Escalation of Attacks In Syria Ends Claims of Neutrality

Despite taking attacks at Syrian military targets every few weeks throughout the conflict, and publicly admitting they’d rather have ISIS win than Assad, Israel has long insisted they are “neutral” on the Syrian War. They’re not claiming that anymore.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in an F-16 cockpit

On Saturday, Israel launched one of its usual attacks on Syria and got its warplane shot down. What followed was a flurry of Israeli attacks, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming were “severe blows” to both Syria and Iran.

While Israel claimed half of the Syrian air defense nationwide was destroyed, the government has spun this primarily as attacks against Iran, and claimed every single military base they attacked in Syria was an “Iranian base.”

Getting into a fight with Iran is a long-standing goal of the Israeli far-right, and this precipitous escalation seems to be reshaping the war, at least in southern Syria, as an Israeli war.

The wild-card in all of this is Russia, which has been supporting Syria, provided all those now-destroyed anti-aircraft defenses, and has been urging everyone to avoid escalation. Though Israeli officials insist they won’t hesitate to carry out further attacks, Russia probably isn’t going to sit idly by and let Israel leave its main Mediterranean ally with no air defenses.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.