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Israel Strikes Assad-Friendly Militants in Syria, Kills Three

Updated on May 1, 2017

Israel Responds to Artillery Shells in Their Territory

The Israeli military has reportedly attacked pro-Assad militants of the Syrian National Defense Forces near Qunietra on Sunday, April 23rd, killing three and injuring two more.

Israel's strike is believed to be a response to three mortar shells used in the Syrian civil war which crossed the border Syrian-Israeli border and exploded in Israeli territory. The stray ammunition caused no casualties or injuries. The Israeli government reported that the shelling of Israeli land was most likely unintentional.

This Is a Trend of the Israeli Military

This is not the first strike committed in Syrian territory by Israel in recent history. The Israeli military has committed dozens of attacks on targets within Syria's borders since the Syrian civil war began, including air bases, weapons and ammunition storage facilities, convoys and more.

On March 17th, Israel struck pro-Assad forces near the city of Palmyra, striking several pro-Assad military targets with fighter jets. Palmyra had only recently been retaken from Islamic State and Free Syrian Army forces by The Syrian military and its' allied fighters.

Before that, Israel attacked the Mezzeh Air Base twice, on December 7th 2016 and January 13th, 2017 respectively. Though no casualties were reported in either attack, The Mezzeh Air Base is the location of Syria's air force intelligence agency.

The Diplomatic Consequences

These actions by Israel, among others, are problematic for diplomacy between Syria and Israel and will likely cause the relationship to deteriorate further. Amidst the heated Syrian civil war, in which the Syrian government and pro-Assad forces are fighting against the Islamic State, the Free Syrian Army, al-Qaeda and other forces which wish to take control of Syrian territory, the Syrian military and factions loyal to the Syrian military also must contend with strikes by the Israeli military.

While some of these strikes were reportedly committed against forces sympathetic to and providing aid to Hezbollah, many of these strikes have been aimed directly at Syrian military infrastructure and pro-Assad militia infrastructure.

This has the effect of diminishing the power of the pro-Assad forces in Syria and strengthening the power of the rebel groups by proxy, worsening the conflict between the two opposite forces: actions which will not endear the Israeli government and military to Assad or the Syrian people.

If there is to be peace in the Middle East, Syria must be stabilized and ISIS/FSA forces driven from the territory they control. It would seem the actions of the Israeli military have done neither, but quite the opposite.

Was the Israeli strike against the Syrian National Defense Forces justified?

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© 2017 Andrew England

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