According to CBS News, Israel has conducted an airstrike on a military research facility inside Syria, near the Syrian and Lebanese border and north of Damascus.
The bombing was reportedly carried out for fear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was providing weapons to the Islamist militant group Hezbollah. Early reports stated a convoy of trucks was the target of the bombing.
The bombing has come at a particularly tumultuous time for Syria, as there are rebels trying to oust President al-Assad from power and the country is in a period of civil unrest.
Israel has not confirmed or denied reports of the bombing. According to CBS News, Israel warned the world of the potential for a bombing over the weekend. The warning came with the movement of one of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems to the northern city of Haifa, which signaled that some kind of militaristic action was about to be undertaken.
Israel seems concerned that the violence from the civil war in Syria, which has killed over 60,000 people by UN estimates, will spill over into Israel, and it appears that this action may have been a small attempt to try to stop this from happening.
This action may be interpreted as an escalation of tensions between Israel and other Middle Eastern nations — more specifically, Iran. Reuters obtained a statement from an anonymous “regional security official” that said that the bombing amounted to a warning to the Syrian government to not transfer weapons to Hezbollah anymore, though the official doubts it will have any impact on loyalties.
Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Iran’s Mehr news agency that “…[an] attack on Syria is considered [an] attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”
Two people were killed in the bombing, and five others were wounded. The Syrian news agency SANA had this to say:
The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said … Israeli warplanes snuck from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain, flying at a low altitude and below radars, heading to Jamraya in Damascus Countryside … and bombarded the location before sneaking away.
Yisrael Hasson, an Israeli lawmaker, told Army Radio that “Syria has a massive amount of chemical weapons, and if they fall into hands even more extreme than Syria like Hezbollah or global jihad groups it would completely transform the map of threats.”
Iran has been supporting Syria militarily and politically for some time now, so their backing here comes as no surprise. According to CNN, the United States have already provided more than $200 million in aid to the Syrian opposition, and President Obama has just approved more funds to go to there.