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Israel Moves to Prevent Syria Escalation After Deadly Rocket Attack and IAF Response

The Times of Israel reported Monday that Israel is actively seeking to dampen escalatory tensions along the Israel-Syria border:

A senior military official noted Monday, however, that Israel had no interest in military escalation along its northern borders, as the IDF was focused on an operation in the West Bank aimed at finding three kidnapped Israeli youths and weakening Hamas, which Israel holds responsible for the abduction.

The outlet also conveyed remarks from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who emphasized that the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for preventing attacks launched from “the area under its control.”

A 15-year-old Israeli boy, Mohammed Karkara, had been killed over the weekend in a cross-border attack that saw fighters from the Syrian side launching an anti-tank rocket at a car delivering water to civilian contractors along the border. At least three others, including the child’s father, were injured in the attack.

Palestinian media described the murder under the headline “Israeli settler killed,” while Hezbollah-linked media used “One Settler Killed on Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights.”

The Israeli Air Force responded with overnight raids on regime facilities and assets, deploying fixed wing aircraft and Tamuz missiles against Damascus’s command and control infrastructure.

There has been some debate among analysts about whether the attack was launched by forces aligned with or against the Syrian regime. Jerusalem held Assad responsible under any scenario:

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the Assad regime is responsible for Sunday’s cross-border missile attack, which prompted the IDF to strike nine Syrian army targets early on Monday.

“We see the regime of Bashar Assad and the Syrian military as responsible for what occurs in the territory under their control, and we will respond aggressively and harshly against any provocation and violation of our sovereignty,” Ya’alon said in a statement.

Ya’alon warned forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Syrian opposition forces and terrorist elements operating in the country alike, against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and IDF forces.

On a more granular level, there are active discussions about increasingly open efforts – reported on by Israeli analysts and Lebanese media outlets – to install military assets in the Golan Heights.

[Photo: BBC World News / YouTube]