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Israel Appears To Be Launching A Major Operation In Syria

This evening — the same evening that Trump announced the termination of the Iran deal, and shortly after Netanyahu’s return from Moscow – Israel has started launching a wave of heavy missile strikes within Syria, in retaliation for an Iranian missile strike against Golan.

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What are they targeting?  In addition to things that can fire into Golan, they’re putting a particular focus on air defense systems.  Over a wide swath of the south.

At this point, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long this will last.


Background:

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Throughout the Syrian conflict, Israel has launched occasional bombing raids within Syria against Iranian weapons shipments and proxies.  These have steadily escalated, and Iran has grown bolder as they've increased their presence in Syria. 

Several weeks ago, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone flying in its airspace and shot it down. They retaliated by a missile raid against the Iranian base at the T-4 airbase which controlled the drone; this attack killed over a dozen Iranian soldiers.  Iran has vowed to respond to the attack at the time and place of its choosing.  Since then, Israel has launched two separate missile attacks within Syria against Iranian weapons shipments, most notably a large strike yesterday against a missile convoy.

Iran launched their promised retaliation three hours ago, a missile attack against Israeli military assets within the Golan Heights. According to Al-Maydeen, the strike was aimed at:

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  • An Israeli military base for electronic warfare
  • Israeli military base 9900 for intelligence gathering
  • An Israeli military base for communication and spying
  • The military HQ of Israeli army position 810.

The missiles — approximately 20 according to the IDF, 50 according to al-Maydeen — appear to have been intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system.  Israel has responded with the current round of attacks. Residents of Golan have been advised to stay in shelters until further notice.


Ongoing events:

A range of  sources reports confirm the attack starting with heavy Israeli artillery shelling across the border.  Then the missile strikes began, first against targets in striking distance of Golan, then numerous other sites: the 137th regiment, Al-Dalafa, Tal al-Qaba (large fire reported), the SAA 4th division (again, at least twice), Kisweh and Billi airport, Khalkhalah AFBQusaiyrMezzeh AFB, the Qasoyun countryside, Damascus commercial tower, and others. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Damascus was also reported as struck.  

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Power outages are reported in Damascus.   On the Israeli side, an explosion near Metula led to people heading to secure areas.  Lebanon has reported 4 Israeli jets violating its airspace.

In addition to to the 116° regiment, the 122° air defense battalion was reported targeted. SANA is reporting that Israel is focusing on air defense targets. At least one air defense radar was destroyed, according to the Syrian government; several air defense battalions have been targeted.

It’s very late here; I need to sleep.  Hopefully this won’t be ongoing when I wake up  🙁

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