On the 31st of October, Israel launched an air strike on the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. The attack on Latakia is supposedly the 5th air strike by Israel on Syria this year alone.Following the incident, the US government “leaked” that the strike was to halt the Russian shipment of SA-125s although this has not been confirmed. Israeli officials are said to be “privately furious at the White House statement.” Syria and Israel have yet to make any comments.
According to several witnesses, “several explosions were heard in an air defence base in the Snubar Jableh area.” According to one Israeli official, “This raises disturbing questions and affects trust between allies. Sharing information is embedded in the nature of the relationship between Israel and the US. It’s like a big pipeline that’s open to permanent flow. So disclosing information is a cause for dismay.”
The Israelis are making a habit of launching airstrikes on Syrian targets. Israeli air-raids on military targets inside Syria have become one of the strangest sub-plots of the civil war. This is thought to be the 5th such attack this year but it is Israeli policy not to offer any public comment on specific operations.
The Syrian government has not commented on the reports. Earlier this year, Mr Assad had promised to respond to any future strikes by Israel. Previously Israel had stated publicly that it won't allow the Assad government to transfer powerful rockets and missiles to it allied Shia militia Hezbollah in Lebanon where they could threaten targets in Israel.
The US, Israel's closest ally, may be a little concerned. The consignment of weapons destroyed is thought to have come from Russia and Washington won't want to see Russian displeasure provoked at a moment when it's co-operation is needed to keep alive any hope of peace talks.
Furthermore, after decades of being locked in a strange love triangle with Israel and Saudi Arabia, the US is breaking out to make other friends in the region. The US’s attempt to re-establish relations with Israel’s Arab neighbours and Iran is making Israel uneasy.
Timeline of Israeli strikes on Syria in the last 10 years
31st October 2013: Israel launched an air strike on the city of Latakia destroying a shipment of weapons supposedly from the Russians.
5th July 2013: Israel allegedly launched an air strike. The attack was allegedly made by the Israeli Defense Forces against targets believed to contain advanced anti-ship Yakhont cruise missiles supplied to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad by Russia.
5th May 2013: Multiple military sites were targeted. One of the strikes were on what was believed to be a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles reportedly on their way to Hezbollah. A Fourth Armoured Division camp on Qasioun Mountain, including an arms depot as well as a Republican Guard camp at Wadi Barada. Attacks were reported near Damascus airport and in the suburbs of As-Saboura, west of Damascus.
3rd May 2013: Israeli forces targeted advanced “game-changing” surface-to-surface missiles apparently bound for Hezbollah.
31st January 2013: A weapons convoy believed to be transporting SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles was raided. The convoy was travelling from Damascus to the Lebanese border to be delivered to Hezbollah.
6th September 2007: Named Operation Orchard, Israel attacked an unfinished nuclear reactor in the Northeast Deir Ezzor region which was being used for military purposes.
5th October 2003: airstrike on an alleged Palestinian fighter training camp Ain Es-Saheb, 22km Northwest of Damascus.