Deliberate and Rare Syrian Missile Launch Could Lead to Israeli Response

The fact that the missiles weren't anti-aircraft missiles shows it was an intentional strike by Syria or Iran in response to the attack attributed to Israel

Amos Harel
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Missile trails over the Golan Heights, January 20, 2019
Missile trails over the Golan Heights, January 20, 2019Credit: IDF Twitter
Amos Harel

The projectiles fired at the northern Golan Heights from Syria Sunday afternoon, which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system, were ground-to-ground missiles and not anti-aircraft missiles.

The missiles were fired shortly after Syrian state media reported that Syrian military air defenses thwarted an Israeli airstrike on an airport in southeast Damascus.

Iron dome missile launch captured by skiers on Israel's Hermon

The fact that the missiles weren't anti-airplane missiles shows it was an intentional strike by Syria or Iran in response to the attack attributed to Israel. Russia backed this claim.

>> Russia says Israel behind thwarted attack targeting airport in Damascus

This constitutes a rare attack against Israel from Syrian territory and could lead to an Israeli response. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Chad, spoke about the reported strikes. "We have a set policy, to target the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and to harm whoever tried to harm us," he said. "This policy doesn’t change when I am in Israel or while I am on a historic visit to Chad."

During the alleged strike, an Iranian passenger plane originating in Tehran was about to land in Damascus. It began its descent, though turned around and flew back to Iran moments before touching down.

Israel's policy of ambiguity regarding its Syria strikes has been all-but-lifted recently by Netanyahu and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

It began with Eisenkot’s proud assertion to the New York Times of attacks on thousands of targets in the north during his tenure. Last Sunday, Netanyahu took public responsibility for attacking Iranian weapons stores in Syria the Friday before.

"The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria," Netanyahu said, while Eisenkot said that Israel "struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit,”  

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