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February 10-17

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Israel vows to continue military campaign in Syria 


An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was shot down on February 10 in Syria. According to The Independent “the Israeli warplane was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire on its return from a bombing raid on Iranian targets in the early hours of Saturday. In response, Israel launched a second ferocious raid, believed to be its most aggressive in years, which it said hit 12 Iranian and Syrian military sites.” As The Times of Israel reports, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the following to the ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting: “Yesterday we dealt a serious blow to the armies of Iran and Syria. We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules of engagement have not changed in any way. We will continue to strike back at any attempt to harm us. This has been our policy and will remain our policy.” The author claims that “Israel clearly stated that it would not tolerate an Iranian military foothold on its doorstep and vowed that Israel would continue to act against efforts to violate its sovereignty.” According to the report, “Israel fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or create a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon that could allow it to transfer weapons more easily to the Lebanese Hezbollah — an Iranian-backed Shiite militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction. Hezbollah’s fighters are also fighting on Assad’s side in the Syrian civil war.”

The U.S. Department of State had issued the following statement about the events in Syria: “The United States is deeply concerned about today's escalation of violence over Israel's border and strongly supports Israel's sovereign right to defend itself.

Iran's calculated escalation of threat and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the‎ region -- from Yemen to Lebanon -- at risk.‎ The U.S. continues to push back on the totality of Iran's malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability.”

Taking into account that Donald J. Trump is less hesitant than his predecessors of backing Israel, he will definitely show a bigger support for protecting Israel against its enemies. Just last week the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed about 100 pro-government forces that attacked coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. According to The New York Times, it is now believed that Russian PMC Wagner lost its numerous fighters during those airstrikes. Notably those Russian forces, both official and "hybrid", were the most combat-capable part of the regime troops. Knockout of Russian PMCs can lead to the collapse and rapid disintegration of the regime in Damascus.

Up till now Russia's patriotic fanfare was based on wishful thinking that their main rival-U.S. - will never dare to engage in direct military contact with them in order to avoid any possible escalation which might lead to catastrophic repercussions for the whole world. Based on that assumption Putin has concocted his strategy of conducting hybrid wars with the help of "little green men.” But now that myth is shattered and it seems the period of complete impunity for Russia's military adventurism has finally come to an end.


Prepared by Marina Muradyan

21 February 2021
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