Israel has launched several missile attacks on Syria in the past month, targeting Iranian-backed groups and facilities, as tensions escalate between the two regional rivals.
On March 22, Israel fired missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at Aleppo International Airport, causing some “material damage” to the facility, which has been a major channel for humanitarian aid since a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria in February. This was the second strike on the airport this month and the third in six months.
On March 24, a US contractor was killed on a US base in Rmelan, in Syria’s Hasakah province. The US responded with “precision airstrikes” on facilities used by Iran-linked groups in Syria and Iraq. The next day, several more attacks were reported against US bases in Syria.
On March 29, Israel attacked missile batteries in Syria after an anti-aircraft missile was fired towards Israel during what Syrian state television reported was an earlier strike around Damascus that killed one soldier and injured five. Israel said it carried out the counter-strike in response to the launching of the anti-aircraft missile, which triggered sirens in parts of Israel and the occupied West Bank.
Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah have supported President Bashar al-Assad over the past decade in Syria’s civil war. Israel views Iran as its main enemy and seeks to prevent it from establishing a permanent military presence near its borders.
Iran denies having troops in Syria but says it has military advisers there and supports Assad’s government. Iran also says it has the right to defend itself against Israeli aggression and accuses Israel of being behind a series of assassinations and sabotage attacks on its nuclear facilities.
The recent escalation of violence comes amid stalled talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which Israel opposes. The deal, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. President Joe Biden has said he wants to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to full compliance.