The Israeli air force carried out, early Wednesday, January 13, a raid of rare power in eastern Syria. A senior US intelligence official confirmed, on condition of anonymity, during the day that the strikes had been carried out by Israel, with the help of intelligence provided by the United States. The operation reportedly targeted a wide range of Iranian positions and weapons depots, in an area stretching from the town of Deir ez-Zor to the border crossing point with Iraq at Al-Boukamal. Or a road corridor along the Euphrates, in an area of Iranian influence, where the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their Arab and Afghan militia allies circulate freely for a long time.
In view of the results put forward by the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) – 18 strikes, which would have killed 57 people, including 14 Syrian soldiers – this attack appears to be one of the most murderous among hundreds carried out by Israel in Syria in recent years. It confirms an acceleration of Israeli operations in the country, notes the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Yadlin: from an attack reported every few weeks to four since mid-December 2020.
The anonymous US intelligence official said Wednesday’s strikes had been discussed two days earlier by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Mossad boss Yossi Cohen at well-known Washington restaurant Cafe Milano, a few days before the end of Donald Trump’s mandate. He asserted that certain hangars targeted in Syria were also used for the circulation of components intended for the Iranian nuclear program, along a road “corridor” which connects, in a more or less secure way, Tehran to the port of Beirut through Iraq. and Syria. The delivery of sensitive materials through such a channel has already been alleged in the past but never confirmed, notes Elisa Catalano Ewers, specialist at the think tank Center for a New American Security. Washington has provided no evidence to support his claim.
Hinder the relaunch of negotiations with Tehran
The Iranian media have kept quiet about the strikes, with Iranian Arabic channel Al-Alam going so far as to claim that they only injured people. “Maybe they don’t want to be forced to retaliate. Or maybe there were no Iranian casualties. When there is one, the Iranian media tend to publish it, but this forces them to react ”, analyzes Raz Zimmt, specialist at the Israeli think tank INSS.
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