Reports: Israel Strikes Iranian-linked Targets in Southern Syria
The Israel Defense Forces reportedly conducted air strikes in a strategic area of southern Syria – in the Golan Heights – where analysts believe Iranian-aligned fighters have set up forward-operating military bases and associated infrastructure. The region was nominally controlled by Russian troops before being overrun by Shi’ite proxies loyal to Tehran after the Syrian army last year reconquered the territory in a major offensive against anti-regime rebels. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to thwart Iran’s ongoing attempt to entrench itself in the war-torn country, and allegedly reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prevent hostile forces from operating within 60 miles of the shared border. It appears, however, that the deal was never enforced, and it is likewise thought that Iran’s Lebanon-based proxy Hizbullah has also set up shop close to the frontier. Over the past few years, Jerusalem has green-lighted hundreds, if not thousands, of cross-border attacks against Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria. The last reported strikes took place earlier in July, when Israel purportedly destroyed numerous Iranian-linked assets in both Damascus and Homs.