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As Jerusalem Moves to Deescalate Crisis, Syria Aims Missiles at Israel and Signals Fresh Red Line Violations

Israel is moving quickly to dampen regional tensions in the aftermath of Friday and Sunday air strikes which the Jewish state conducted against military assets in Syria. The air strikes were conducted by Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets hovering in Lebanese airspace, and targeted mostly Iranian and Hezbollah assets. Analysts have suggested that Israel intentionally stayed out of Syrian air space to signal to the Bashar al-Assad regime that the Jewish state was moving against Tehran and its Lebanese terror proxy, rather than against Syria.

The signal feeds into an Israeli strategy now being publicly deployed to deescalate tensions:

Jerusalem is also communicating to Damascus that its strikes – which it has not publicly admitted to – were not meant as an intervention into Syria’s two-year civil war, but rather targeted at the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah… But Israel is trying to prevent “an increase in tension with Syria by making clear that if there is activity, it is only against Hezbollah, not against the Syrian regime,” a confidante of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, Tzachi Hanegbi, told Israel Radio today. The Israeli newspaper Yeditoh Ahronoth also reported that Israel has used diplomatic back channels to communicate to President Bashar al-Assad that it is not intervening in the civil war.

Syria’s behavior in the context of deescalation has been… less helpful.

Damascus has since the strikes publicly announced that it was aiming missile batteries at Israel.

Meanwhile a weekend broadcast on the Hezbollah-linked Lebanese TV station Al Mayadeen declared that Syria would provide “all types of armaments” to the Iran-backed terror group, including “new qualitative weaponry.” Israel’s reported Friday and Sunday air strikes were aimed at preventing such transfers.

[Photo: watchsmart / Flickr]