Connect with us

Middle East

Israel air strikes and missile barrage designed to show it is still a player in Syria as Assad nears victory

- netanyahu israel - Israel air strikes and missile barrage designed to show it is still a player in Syria as Assad nears victory


Israeli jets and ground-to-ground missile attacks on targets in the outskirts of Damascus are a mark of Israel’s heightened concern as President Bashar al-Assad comes close to winning the civil war in Syria. Israel’s security cabinet has held meetings several times in recent days to discuss how it should respond to the “day-after” the war as Syria returns to Mr Assad’s control and to Iran’s expanded influence in Syria according to Israeli television reports.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s policy was to stop Hezbollah moving “game-changing weapons” out of Syria into Lebanon. “We back it [the policy] up as necessary with action,” he added. Israel has carried out more than 100 air strikes against Syrian Army and Hezbollah arms depots and military facilities in the past six years.

The strikes are a sign that Israel is trying to adjust to likely new developments in Syria in 2018: as the end of the civil war comes in sight, Hezbollah and the Syrian armed forces, both battle hardened by the war, will no longer be tied down by fighting and could be deployed to confront Israel. 

The Syrian war is by no means over, but the success of the coalition that includes Iran, Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia forces means that the balance of power in the region is swinging against Israel.

The Syrian Army is advancing swiftly without much resistance into the largest remaining rebel enclave in province of Idlib south west of Aleppo, in an offensive launched a week ago. Backed by artillery and air strikes, Syrian units are fighting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as the al Nusra Front and once the Syrian arm of al-Qaeda, which is dominant in the province. Other rebel groups complain that HTS is refusing to cooperate with them in holding back government forces.

The Syrian Army and air force are also battering Eastern Ghouta, the other large rebel enclave just east of Damascus, the capture of which would give Mr Assad full control of the capital and the area round it, something he has not enjoyed since 2011.

Although the long-term success of Syrian government forces looks inevitable, it will take them time to re-establish central control. The Syrian Kurds – who captured Isis’s de facto capital Raqqa in October backed by US-led air strikes – control a great swathe of territory east of the Euphrates. They need to keep US support, including several bases in Kurdish-held territory, as a guarantee against Turkish military intervention or an offensive by Syrian forces. At the same time, they look to a long-term agreement with Damascus which would guarantee their autonomy.

Israel is concerned about the return of the Syrian Army to parts of southern Syria close to Israel as it tries to reopen the road to Jordan. There is a US-Russian agreement arranged by President Vladimir Putin that Hezbollah and Iranian backed forces will not approach within 25 miles of the Israeli-Syrian front line in the Golan.

But Mr Assad is likely to be less reliant on the support, and more independent of the wishes, of his two main allies, Russia and Iran, as he gets close to victory.

The latest Israeli air strikes and the angry Syrian response show that both sides are muscle-flexing. But, while the Israelis have an interest in preventing Hezbollah acquiring a substantial arsenal of long-range missiles that could reach far into Israel, neither side has an interest in going to war which would cause a lot of destruction but produce no winner, as in 2006 when Israel fought Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has received vociferous backing from President Trump and the US but the Israelis must wonder – along with the rest of the world – how much Mr Trump’s supportive tweets are really worth. Even his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not an unalloyed gain for Israel since it changes nothing much on the ground, but it has put the Israeli-Palestinian issue back at the top of the political agenda in the Middle East to a degree not seen since 9/11 and the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Israeli air strikes are not necessarily a precursor to a wider military conflict, but they do show that Israel believes it can no longer stay on the margins of the Syrian war. As the conflict comes to an end that  is bound to be messy, Israel wants to be a leading player in shaping its final outcome. 

Independent

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Middle East

Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say

- 1516551522 mosul - Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say


An Iraqi court has sentenced a German woman to death after she ran away to join Isis.

The court in Baghdad convicted the unnamed German woman of “providing logistical support and assistance to the terrorist group to commit crimes” and has ordered her execution.

The spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, says the woman acknowledged joining Isis after travelling from Germany to Syria and then to Iraq along with her two daughters. Both daughters later married militants. 

She is believed to have been living in the Mannheim region of Germany when she travelled to Syria but is reportedly of Moroccan descent. 

The woman is believed to have been among a number of women in July 2017 who were captured after the Battle of Mosul when Iraqi forces pushed Isis out of Iraq’s second city.

She now faces hanging but can still appeal her sentence, Mr Bayrkdar said.

Iraqi forces have detained a number of foreign women after they drove Isis from its former territory in northern and central Iraq. 

It is estimated that over 27,000 foreign fighters, including 6,000 Europeans, have travelled to Iraq and Syria since the start of the Arab Spring in 2011 but not all of them have joined Isis, according to data published by the Soufran Group.

A Russian Isis fighter was sentenced to death in Iraq last year for joining the hardline group.

Meanwhile one of those in prison awaiting trial is German teenager Linda Wenzel who ran away to Syria when she was just 15 years old. 

Wenzel also faces the death penalty if convicted of aiding Isis. Iraqi authorities say she admitted to working as a sniper during the battle but Wenzel claims she was mostly kept as a domestic servant.

Iraq declared victory last month over Isis, which had seized control of nearly a third of the country in 2014. However, the terror group continues to carry out bombings and other attacks in the country.

Additional reporting by agencies​

Independent

Continue Reading

Middle East

France Calls for Urgent UNSC Meeting Over the Turkish Attack on Afrin

- 6d35699da25d5ed17995fd336cb43987 L - France Calls for Urgent UNSC Meeting Over the Turkish Attack on Afrin


ERBIL — French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that his country has called for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing Turkish military incursion into the Kurdish-held Syrian Canton of Afrin.

“France has requested an urgent meeting of UN Security Council,” Le Drian said on his Twitter account.

He urged those involved in the conflict to stop the fire immediately and open the path for humanitarian aid to reach the affected area.

French foreign minister talked to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier, following which he said in an official statement that Ankara is urged to restraint and end any action which could further deteriorate the humanitarian situation in Syria.

“France is attentive to the security of Turkey, its territory and borders. Paris calls on the Turkish authorities to exercise restraint in the complicated context of a humanitarian situation in several Syrian regions in view of military activities of Damascus and its allies,” reads the statement.

Continue Reading

Middle East

YPG Repels Turkish Ground Attack Near Afrin

- 483e465d9a269f55d26c3cdda3226147 L - YPG Repels Turkish Ground Attack Near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Sunday repelled the first Turkish ground offensive on Bulbul district of Afrin Canton.

The Turkish troops, accompanied by heavy arms and tanks, were marching towards the territories of  Balia village when faced fierce resistance from the YPG fighters, said Hawar news agency (ANHA).

Many Turkish artillery and heavy arms are said to have been forced to retreat while there remains some attacking troops, according to the same source.

 

Continue Reading

Recent News

- TurkisStrikeK24 400x240 - Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion - TurkisStrikeK24 80x80 - Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion
kurdistan22 mins ago

Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion

HDP’s Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay did not call for an uprising but urged “the people of Turkey not to remain silent...

- 20180121 20180121 1111111118f3ed8 imageda8ed3 image 400x240 - Death toll in Turkish attack on Cilber village rises to 7  - 20180121 20180121 1111111118f3ed8 imageda8ed3 image 80x80 - Death toll in Turkish attack on Cilber village rises to 7 
Rojava24 mins ago

Death toll in Turkish attack on Cilber village rises to 7 

Kurdish Red Crescent Heyva Sor a Kurd reached bodies of 4 more people during search efforts in wreckage caused by...

- 20180121 20180121 mehmud berxwedan3725bd image4dadf7 image 400x240 - YPG Afrin Commander: We have launched Revolutionary Operation  - 20180121 20180121 mehmud berxwedan3725bd image4dadf7 image 80x80 - YPG Afrin Commander: We have launched Revolutionary Operation 
Rojava28 mins ago

YPG Afrin Commander: We have launched Revolutionary Operation 

YPG Afrin Commander Mehmûd Berxwedan spoke to Stêrk TV and announced the launch of Revolutionary Operation against the invading Turkish...

- 20180121 afri5b04a1 image 400x240 - 9 members of Turkish army and allied gangs killed in Afrin  - 20180121 afri5b04a1 image 80x80 - 9 members of Turkish army and allied gangs killed in Afrin 
Rojava34 mins ago

9 members of Turkish army and allied gangs killed in Afrin 

Turkish army and affiliated gangs attempted to enter Shadiya village of Afrin’s Rajo district, and Kırdo and Edame villages of...

kurdistan1 hour ago

Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil

ERBIL — Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday met with Kosrat Rasoul, deputy secretary-general for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan...

- 5a64c468fc7e93f8458b4569 - Last thing Syria needs after beating ISIS is another conflict – German FM on Turkish op - 5a64c468fc7e93f8458b4569 - Last thing Syria needs after beating ISIS is another conflict – German FM on Turkish op
Syria1 hour ago

Last thing Syria needs after beating ISIS is another conflict – German FM on Turkish op

A plume of smoke is seen rising in Syria on January 20, 2018. © Global Look Press / ZUMA Press

- AfrinTurkey 400x240 - Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin - AfrinTurkey 80x80 - Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin
kurdistan1 hour ago

Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iran on Sunday called on the Turkish government to halt its military campaign against...

- 20180121 afrin youth2eb10c image 400x240 - Kurdish and Arab youths headed to emplacements in Afrin  - 20180121 afrin youth2eb10c image 80x80 - Kurdish and Arab youths headed to emplacements in Afrin 
Rojava2 hours ago

Kurdish and Arab youths headed to emplacements in Afrin 

ANHA News Agency reported that hundreds of Kurdish and Arab youths are answering the call for mobilization for Afrin and...

- 1516551522 mosul 400x240 - Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say - 1516551522 mosul 80x80 - Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say
Middle East2 hours ago

Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say

The women were captured following the end of the Battle of Mosul Getty An Iraqi court has sentenced a German...

- 7f2c64c698250653b23565daee9d4456 L 400x240 - Turkmens Boycott Iraqi Provincial Election in Kirkuk - 7f2c64c698250653b23565daee9d4456 L 80x80 - Turkmens Boycott Iraqi Provincial Election in Kirkuk
kurdistan2 hours ago

Turkmens Boycott Iraqi Provincial Election in Kirkuk

KIRKUK — Iraqi Turkmen representatives revealed that they will boycott the elections which are going to be held under the...

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 KurdDaily.com