3 possible motives behind Israel’s airstrike on Syria, analysis


israel strikes syria 050513-1After Syria accused Israel of launching airstrikes on the country’s military sites in Damascus, local media outlets and some Syrian and Lebanese analysts believed that there are three possible motives behind the attack.


The airstrike on Sunday was the second one for Israel to target the same military position inside Damascus. In January, an Israeli air strike targeted the scientific research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.

Israel, after its first attack, claimed that it had targeted weapons’ convoy bounding to Lebanese Hezbollah militant group, a main ally to Syria.

On Sunday, western reports cited western intelligence sources as claiming that the latest Israeli attack came to target a shipment of advanced Iranian-made weapons, including Fateh-110 missiles, heading to Hezbollah.

The Fateh-110 is a medium-range, surface-to-surface missile capable of striking targets in central Israel, and is considered a “tie-breaking” weapon that could severely threaten the country’s urban centers.

The Israeli administration has previously warned that it will not allow the Syrian government to give sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.

Furthermore, another Israeli airstrike was said to have hit Syria over the weekend but was neither confirmed officially by Israel nor Syria. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said his government was undertaking a “serious investigation” into the alleged attack.


After the airstrike, mortar shells were reportedly fired by the rebels at the Jamraya research center coupled with intensive attacks by rebel groups on several military checkpoints guarding the capital, according to local media outlets, which charged Israel has timed its attack in coordination with the rebels to storm Damascus.

“The Israeli entity has used its missiles to support the terrorism through targeting the research center,” the Syrian state media said in a commentary that followed the Israeli attack.

The state media charged that Israel targeted Damascus to give a boost to the rebels after the abject defeats they have been suffering recently on the ground.

Naser Qandil, a Lebanese pro- Syrian regime politician, said that Israel was trying to create a fire cover for the rebels to storm the Syrian capital.


Many local political experts believed that the Israeli attack also aimed to trigger a military response by the Syrian troops to engage in a war, which could draw further foreign military intervention.

Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the western-backed Syrian opposition in exile has been craving for a foreign military intervention in Syria under the pretext of protecting civilians.

Over the past year, the armed rebels in Syria backed by extremist Nusra Front have deliberately attacked several airbases across the country. They also tried to attack civilian airports in Damascus and northern city of Aleppo.

The rebels’ tactic was seen as a bid to paralyze the Syrian air force to prevent it from carrying on airstrikes against rebel strongholds nationwide.

Amin Hutait, a retired Lebanese brigadier and military expert, told Arab media recently that the rebels have even attacked airbases which were far from the conflict zones, pointing out that the strategy of targeting military airfields aimed to weaken the Syrian air force ability to respond to any foreign aggression. After the first Israeli airstrike in January, Syria’s Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij said the Israeli air raid rendered help to the rebels, contending the “armed terrorist groups” had been recently targeting Syria’s air-defense systems nationwide on the behest of Israel in order to render those systems out of service.

Israel deems Syria, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which always refer to themselves as the “axe of resistance” against the Jewish state, as threatening its interests and security in the region.

While the Syrian government has yet to give an official comment on the latest Israeli attack, Iran’s officials stressed that the ” resistance” will retaliate upon the attack on Syria, adding that ” Iran will not allow Tel Aviv to tamper with the region’s security, ” according to the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV.