Israel has warned Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad that one of his palaces would be targeted if he continued to allow Iranian weapon transfers through his country, Saudi Elaph reported on June 13.
According to online news outlet, a senior Israeli official said that Israel is preparing for operations deep inside Syria, without informing Russia. However, the source noted that Russia was alerted before recent Israeli airstrikes on the country.
The alleged warning was given in the woke of a powerful Israeli aerial attack on Damascus International Airport. The attack, which took place on June 10, placed the airport out of service, forcing Syria to shift all international flights to Aleppo airport in the north.
Israel Hayom reported that the attack on the airport was meant to pressure Assad to take a firmer stance against Iran’s use of Syrian infrastructure to smuggle advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Israeli attack on the airport was condemned by Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and a number of Palestinian factions, including the Hamas Movement.
Despite sustaining heavy damage, the airport will reportedly resume operations before the end of the month. Reconstruction has already reached an advanced stage.
Assad aligned Syria closer to Iran and Hezbollah after claiming power in 2000. During the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, Syria was the main backer of Hezbollah, supplying the group with advance anti-tank guided missiles and heavy artillery rockets. After the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011, Iran and Hezbollah rushed to support Assad, pushing the alliance with Syria to its highest point ever.
While Elaph’s report is yet to be verified, Israel’s recent attacks on Syria do show a high level of desperation. The failure to sway Assad away from Iran and Hezbollah could eventually push Israel to carry out harsher attacks on Syria.
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