The Israeli Air Force and The Battle for Damascus 2013
It started in March 2011, peaceful demonstrations wanting an "Arab" spring in Syria. That never happened and now is an internal war with over 60,000 dead. The war is slowly grinding to an inevitable conclusion with rebel forces composed of diverse groups with diverse interests that make NATO nations reluctant to do anything.
Thank God there is the Israeli Air Force. Thank God that Israel is willing, when they have to, do something to protect their interests. The rebel forces and the Syrian 4th Division are battling for the gateways leading to Assad in the heart of Damascus, a city of nearly two million. These battles are to gain access into the city, not the city itself. The rebel forces numbering in thousands are winning some and losing others as they try to advance from the north and south. Time is on the rebel side. Sooner than later, Assad's forces will run out of ammunition. Assad's chemical weapons have been loaded into some warheads perched on missiles or into artillery shells. Iran has demanded that Assad transfer its SA-17 missiles they gave Syria to be smuggled into Lebanon so Hezbollah can use them.
The Israeli Air Force flew on January 30th into Syria and destroyed the first attempt at this. Assad and Iran vowed revenge. Israel stated that they will simply not allow any weapon transfers to occur and have now put their drones over all suspected entries. They have said the air force will strike into Syria to prevent this or to destroy chemical weapons, once located. The rebels have enjoyed having the IDF entering into the war, it is a major distraction and concern for Syria.
It was in 1973, October 15-20th, that the Israeli army's counterattack took Israeli ground forces to with 20 km of Damascus. At that time, that is when Assad's father sent an SOS to the Soviets. The Soviets immediately threatened the US with a nuclear exchange and sent Syria even more lethal weapons. The Israeli army stopped only when the US told them they had to or else the US would no longer support them. That is history.
Today, Russia seems to be less interested in saving its old friend as long as outsiders stay out. But, should the IDF contunue to attack into Syria, Putin is in the mood to help Syria. The Israeli Air Force could cause Assad to collapse in short order and allow the rebels to seize more of Damascus than they have now. But even Israel is concerned about what would happen after the collapse.
If Assad is preparing to use his chemical weapons and Israeli intelligence confirms it, their air force will be sent in again. This might bring a more rapid conclusion to the war or it might widen it, but Israel has little choice because NATO is not willing to do anything.