On late Monday night, Israeli aircraft pounded Syrian military targets. The strikes came in response to an attempted bombing attack that took place on Sunday night in the Golan Heights section of the Israeli border, Israeli military sources said. The Sunday attack was thwarted by Israeli special forces.
In a rare acknowledgment of an airstrike in Syrian territory, the IDF said it bombed Syrian observation posts, intelligence-gathering sites, anti-aircraft defense positions, and command-and-control infrastructure.
“IDF fighter jets, attack helicopters, and other aircraft attacked Syrian Army targets in southern Syria, in response to the bomb-planting incident that was thwarted yesterday in the southern Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The IDF sees the Syrian regime as responsible for all activities that occur in its territory and will continue to act with determination against all violations of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the statement continued.
The wording of the Israeli statement is key here. The IDF states that the Assad regime is responsible for all activities that occur within its territory because it believes that Iranian-proxy militias, not the Syrian military or Hezbollah, were responsible for the attempted bombing of Sunday.
IDF officers met with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force’s (UNDOF) Maj. Gen. Ishwar Hamal on Monday afternoon to show the U.N. peacekeepers the scene of Sunday’s incident.
“At the meeting, the division commander emphasized that the IDF would not allow the security of the residents of the State of Israel and its sovereignty to be harmed and that the IDF considers the State of Syria responsible for everything that happens on its territory,” the IDF said in a statement.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based watchdog for the Syrian Civil War cited “reliable sources” which said that jets pounded a base in Syria used by Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias. The jets also struck several other targets near the town of Abu Kamal, in the eastern Deir Ezzor area on early Monday morning, causing several casualties and damage.
Iranian bases in Deir Ezzor have been targeted many times in the past by airstrikes that were connected to the Israelis. Weapons depots, logistical warehouses, and command and control hubs are also frequently targeted.
The SOHR reported that after the attack, regime forces transported many dead and injured fighters across the border into Iraq and that Iranian forces in al-Bokamal were on high alert and massing more fighters.
SANA, the Syrian state-run media, confirmed that attacks took place. However, an official SANA news report stated that the country’s air defenses were activated by the incoming missiles, which targeted sites southwest of Damascus. It quoted an unnamed military source that stated the attack caused only material damage and no casualties.