The brewing Iran-Israel face-off in Syria

The Iran-Israel escalation in Golan Heights was much anticipated since weeks as the frequency of Israeli strikes in Syria had sky-rocketed particularly targeted at Iranian facilities and forces. Israel Defence Forces have stated that the initial Iranian and Syrian attack consisted of 20 rocket strikes and was met with an equivocal counterstrike by Israel which hit multiple Iranian and Syrian regime positions across the Syrian territory. There were attacks on the capital city of Damascus as well.

The military attack by Iran and its coalition forces was much speculated by both American and Israeli experts. This was primarily because many signals had made it eminent like the increased supply of both weapons and other equipment to Syria amid consistent warnings by Tehran to Israel on the latter’s attacks on former’s facilities. Iran had been avoiding a major conflict with Israel in its race to consolidate its position in the region and to foster the momentum of loyalist forces against the rebels. Iran is caught in a messy situation as the recent withdrawal of US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has made it increasingly dependent on other signatories of the Accord who will definitely be less likely to maintain it if Iran escalates its offensive against Israel. Despite the latter, there is increasing discontent among Iranians and the hard elements in Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who want to give a befitting answer to Israel and thereby establish a strong deterrent.

There are thin chances that Iran and Israel will try to stretch their conflict beyond Syrian soils but the risk of damage and casualties cannot be ruled out. Israel is trying to push harder and flex all its muscles to reduce the Iranian footprint in Syria. Thus, despite the failure of its negotiations with Russia it is inclined to its mission and has thus resorted to its own military strength to furnish the aim. Israel has to maintain suitable distance from Russia in Syria while also serving the collaboration with the US and keeping Iran at its toes all at the same time. Prime Minister Netanyahu had recently held high-level talks with President Putin in Moscow to persuade Russia to not to come in its way as it intensifies its military action against Iran in Syria. Israel has acted in line with the US and has pressed the latter to come out strong against Iran. This involved continued presence of US forces in Syria and abandoning of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The recent spate of airstrikes and counter-strikes between Iran and Israel is a dangerous prelude to more devastation which is yet to come. The possibility of Russian and America forces of being drawn into the conflict cannot be ruled out as Israel prepares to increase its efforts to dislodge Iran from Syria. Incidences of minor clashes between US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iranian loyalist forces are being reported. US stance against Iran has been made apparent by its withdrawal from the Deal but Russia which is another major player will have to ensure the de-escalation of conflict between Iran and Israel especially in the wake of the risks it presents to Russian forces and military interests in the country.

 

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