Israel Attacked 1,000 Iranian and Hezbollah Targets in Syria Since 2017

4,200 missiles used in attacks, which destroyed a third of Syria’s anti-air systems and a quarter of missiles aimed at Israel

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows missiles in Damascus, Jan. 21, 2019.
Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows missiles in Damascus, Jan. 21, 2019. Credit: SANA via AP
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The military has carried out about 1,000 airstrikes in Syria since 2017, most of them against Iranian and Hezbollah targets, as part of a campaign to hinder the establishment of Iranian strongholds in Syria and Hezbollah’s precision-guided missile project.

The government hasn’t admitted to carrying out most of the attacks in Syria – as well as additional countries ones in the Middle East, according to foreign reports – which have been part of the country’s covert so-called campaign between the wars. The number of strikes during this period is almost double that in 2010-2013.

The airstrikes, which used some 4,200 missiles, destroyed about a third of Syria’s anti-air systems while responding to anti-aircraft fire or to attempted strikes on Israel with rockets and drones.

Syria’s air defenses launched some 850 missiles at Israeli planes in trying to prevent the attacks. The attacks on Syrian anti-air systems also struck about a fifth of the country’s radar systems and a quarter of its surface-to-surface missiles aimed at Israel.

The air force’s ability to conduct operations in Syrian airspace is narrowing down, however, with Russia and Iran installing more advanced anti-air systems in Syria, including radars and GPS-jamming systems. Foreign media outlets recently reported that some of the Israeli missiles were shot down by the Syrian army. These interceptions were reportedly not numerous and did not prevent the missiles from hitting the targets, but they could make the air force change its operational methods, such as having to fire more missiles at each target.

Foreign media outlets continue to attribute the latest attacks in Syria and in other places in the Middle East to Israel, signaling that the air force is managing to deal with the systems brought by Russia and Iran; however, these is requiring more significant organization.

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