DAMASCUS - Israeli media outlets suggest that currents of change flowing across the region could signal new equations under which Syria would be setting the new rules of the game for Israel thanks to its alliance with Iran and Russia.
Different-minded Israeli media have in recent days been interpreting the latest developments inside Syria — including the Syrian military’s move to intercept intruding Israeli warplanes on October 16 — as a “confident” or “defiant” message by Damascus to the Israeli regime.
An analysis piece published on the website of the Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday said the recent developments concerning Syria were “not encouraging.”
‘No more freedom of action for Israel’
It referred to several reported developments to conclude that the winds were shifting.
The interception of the Israeli fighter jets, a purported firing of projectiles from Syria into Israel on Saturday, and recent statements by Syrian and Iranian officials, the article said, were signs that Damascus and its allies were trying “to dictate new rules of the game to Israel.”
It said the Israeli regime had been conducting “attacks on arms convoys in… [Syrian] territory” seemingly with “freedom of action” since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.
“But, the circumstances have changed over the past few months,” it said, pointing to the Syrian government’s increasing wins against foreign-backed militants.
“Last week’s anti-aircraft fire can be seen both as Syrian retaliation and as an attempt to deter Israel by warning that its planes will no longer enjoy the broad freedom of action they have exploited in recent years,” it said.
Israel regularly hits positions held by the Syrian army in the Golan Heights, sometimes describing the attacks as “retaliatory.” Syria says the raids aim to boost the Takfiri militant groups fighting against government forces. Israel has occupied parts of the Syrian Golan Heights and is openly offering medical treatment to the militants wounded in battles with Syrian government forces.
Iran and Russia, on the other hand, have been offering advisory military support to the Syrian government in its battle against extremist militants. Russia has also been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign against the positions of hard-line militants.
Last week, the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces visited Damascus to discuss Iran and Syria’s long-time bilateral military cooperation. There, Major General Mohammad Baqeri said Israel could not be allowed to violate Syrian territory whenever it pleased.
Later, the Iranian major general said the days of Daesh in Syria were numbered.
Meanwhile, another analysis piece published by The Times of Israel on Sunday referred to the same set of reported developments concerning Syria over the recent weeks and said a “boost” was evident in Damascus’ self-confidence.
It specifically pointed to what Israeli officials have claimed was the firing of a barrage of rockets into Israel and said Damascus may be sending a message to Israel.
On Saturday, the Israeli army said that it had “targeted three artillery cannons” of the Syrian government in the Golan Heights in what it claimed to have been a “response to the [firing of] projectiles that hit Israel.”
On Thursday, Israel had struck a Syrian artillery position near the southwestern town of Quneitra.