Iran and Israel have reportedly exchanged military strikes in the Golan Heights, an area on Israel’s eastern border with Syria.
The Israeli military said that it had struck nearly seventy targets including an Iranian military compound north of Damascus, arms storage warehouses at Damascus International Airport and a logistics headquarters belonging to the Quds Force, a special forces unit associated with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The strikes lasted for four hours and according to the Israeli military, killed eight Syrians. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based human-rights group said at least twenty-three people were killed in today’s strikes. Among them were five Syrian soldiers and eighteen militiamen.
The strikes targeted “almost all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “We will not allow Iran to turn Syria into a front-line post against Israel,” he added.
Israel said the strikes were in response to a series of rocket attacks launched at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights from Syria. The Israeli military blamed those attacks on the Quds force.
There was no immediate response, either to the accusations or the attacks against Iranian positions in Syria, by the Iranian government.
The White House laid blame for the hostilities squarely at the feet of Iran. “The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” a statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read.
“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hizballah [sic], to take no further provocative steps.”
Israel said there was no connection between the strikes and the U.S.’ decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which occurred just the day before, although Israelis in the Golan Heights were told to open their bomb shelters at the very moment President Trump announced the withdrawal.
Iran’s strong support for the Bashar Assad regime in Syria has allowed it to solidify its presence in that country bringing it in close proximity to Israel.
Photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald via U.S. Air Force