MESOP NEWS TOP OF THE AGENDA : Israel Ups Role in Syria Against Iranian Targets

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli military delivered “serious blows” to Iranian targets in Syria after a weekend of cross-border strikes, and signaled confrontation between Israel and Iran could escalate further if “agression” against his country continues.

Syria’s air force shot down an Israeli fighter jet, the first downed since 1982 (VOA), after Israel reportedly sent aircraft over central Homs province to carry out strikes on Syrian and Iranian targets (Al Jazeera). The move by Israel came after the country intercepted a drone allegedly operated by Iran (Al Jazeera) in Israeli airspace. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, starting a five-country tour (Haaretz) in the region, said he has no new plans to visit Israel in light of the escalation.


“The risk is a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran that will encompass Syria and Lebanon,” Sami Nader said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“The jet crash represented a severe blow to Israel’s prestige and could mark a major change after years in which it acted against targets in Syria with relative impunity,” Isabel Kershner, Anne Barnard, and Eric Schmitt write for the New York Times.

“[Israel] uses Russia as an intermediary to convey its messages to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis. And if they don’t pick up on those messages, Israel uses its air force, which, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, has attacked Syrian and Iranian targets on at least one hundred occasions,” Yossi Melman writes for Middle East Eye.