Updated, November 12, 2015, 17.00 UT
According to a report by Algemeiner (November 11, 2015), Israel’s Air Force was involved in bombing inside Syria, hitting targets close to Damascus airport.
According to reports in Syrian media outlets affiliated with President Bashar Assad, Israel Air Force jets hit targets near the Damascus airport, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday evening.
The report, a breaking story that interrupted the nightly news, was neither confirmed nor denied by Israeli authorities.
Channel 2 military correspondent Roni Daniel said that Israel has made it clear it would not allow the transfer of weapons from Iran, via Damascus, to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
This is not the first time that air strikes in Syria have been attributed to Israel without confirmation from officials in the Jewish state. But this comes on the heels of meetings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly held to coordinate operations in Syria — and ensure that there are no unwitting collisions between planes from their respective air forces.
During a visit to the US this week, Netanyahu gave insight into Israel’s Syria policy. He told an audience at a gala for the American Enterprise Institute that he laid out Israel’s red lines in Syria to Putin in September.
“We will not allow Iran to set up a second front in the Golan, and we will act forcefully — and have acted forcefully — to prevent that. We will not allow the use of Syrian territory from which we’d be attacked by the Syrian army or anyone else and we have acted forcefully against that. And third, we will not allow the use of Syrian territory for the transfer of game-changing weapons into Lebanon into Hezbollah’s hands, and we have acted forcefully on that. I made it clear that we will continue to act like that,” he said. (Ruth Blum, Algemeiner, November 12, 2015)
This report begs the question as to the ultimate objective of Netanyahu’s visit to Washington.
The Israeli delegation to Washington was also integrated by military and intelligence officials who no doubt had meetings with their counterparts at the Pentagon and Langley, not to mention the US Congress.
A week prior to the Obama-Nentayahu “summit”, Netanyahu dispatched his defense chief, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, to Washington, “to help smooth the way for his own visit”. Was there an understanding that Israel would henceforth play a more active role in the war against Syria? In an earlier statement, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter intimated:
“It is a reasonable expectation that the defense relationship [with Israel] will be one of stability and endurance, …” (quoted by Defense One, November 3, 2015)
Ya’alon was hosted in Washington by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter who is credited for having stabilized the US-Israel relationship. Were these talks between Carter and Ya’alon behind closed doors indicative of a shift in US-Israel military relations, specifically with regard to Syria.
Quoting Syrian opposition sources, the Israeli media dismissed the reports that the IDF was behind the air strikes:
Syrian opposition activist Ahmed Yabrudi said: “Israeli warplanes entered from south Lebanon, arrived at Qalamoun and flew above the international airport in Damascus where they struck nearby military outposts.”
He added that “the Israeli planes remained in Syria’s skies for a half hour, and there is no information about the outposts that were hit – except that they belonged to Hezbollah.”
Official Syrian media failed to report on the air strikes attributed to Israel. [According to Algemeiner, it was announced on Syrian TV]
Israeli defense officials also declined to comment on the foreign media reports.
However, Israel did previously announce a strict-policy of intolerance towards threats to the state, such as weapons transfers to Hezbollah in Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2015)
Michel Chossudovsky, November 12, 2015