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Israel and Turkey have recently escalated against Syria in what appears to be an attempt to take advantage of the Ukrainian conflict which moved international attention away from the Middle East.
On May 20, an Israeli attack with ground-launched missiles targeted the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The attack was launched from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
It left five people dead, including one civilian.
The target was reportedly an Iranian weapons shipment that was on its way from Damascus International Airport to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
This was Israel third confirmed attack on Syria in May. And it will not likely be the last one this month. Israel appears to be determined to escalate its “War-Between-Wars” campaign, which is meant to hinder Iranian entrenchment in Syria and prevent the transfer of advanced Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel is not the only foreign power escalating against Syria. Turkey is also attempting to take advantage of the Ukrainian conflict, which is keeping Russia busy and the US in need of all of its NATO allies.
On May 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara will launch a new military operation in Syria against Kurdish forces, mainly the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in an effort to link up two areas already under Turkish control in the northern and northeastern regions of the country.
Erdogan said the operation would aim to resume Turkish efforts to create a 30 kilometers “safe zone” along its border with Syria.
SDF-held Minaq will likely be one of the main targets of any upcoming operation against the SDF, along with the towns of Tell Rifaat and Manbij in the northern Aleppo countryside and the town of Kobane in the governorate’s northeastern countryside. Several units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian Military Police are present near all of these towns.
On May 25, the Turkish military deployed massive reinforcements in the areas held by its proxies.
On the same day, a series of Turkish artillery strikes targeted towns and villages held by the SDF in the northern Aleppo countryside, the northern Raqqa countryside and the northern countryside of al-Hasakah.
A new operation against the SDF in Syria could boost the chances of Erdogan and his party, the Justice and Development party, in the upcoming Turkish elections in 2023.
Overall, it appears that Syria will experience a new phase of violence this summer as regional powers are attempting to secure points in the war-torn country before the conflict in Ukraine reaches its end.