Tensions in the Middle East are boiling after Israel carried out air strikes against Syria last Friday, prompting retaliatory strikes from Syrian forces that have seemingly set the two governments completely at odds as ISIS fights for greater control.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims the Israeli bombs were targeted at Hezbollah, an Iranian organization that fought a war against Israel back in 2006. They struck a military site near Palmyra, an important battleground of the Syrian civil war. Syrian forces retaliated by launching ground-to-air missile strikes at Israeli jets, according to an Al Jazeera report. None of the air strikes caused damage, and one was intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system.
Widely considered by the West to be one of the biggest terror threats in the world, Hezbollah is actually an ally in the Syrian civil war against ISIS. Hezbollah claims that the attacks by Israel were in defense of ISIS in the region.
“Netanyahu crawled up to Putin, he begged the Russian president because he’s afraid of an ISIS defeat,” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said. “He knows that an ISIS defeat means victory for the resistance axis and Hezbollah, and a loss for Israel which supported [ISIS] over the past six years.”
The state of Israel focused their ire on Syria with recent statements, responding with sharp words against Syria for conducting the retaliatory strikes. “The next time that the Syrian air defenses fire at us, we will destroy them completely without thinking twice,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a radio interview.
It remains to be seen how the skirmish will impact the tenuous situation in the region. With Israel, Syria, Russia, Iran and now U.S. forces directly engaged, more of these flare-ups could very well be on the way.