Israeli Intervention in the Syrian War: Opportunities and Challenges

Perhaps it does not require much effort to demonstrate the extent of Israel’s involvement and active participation in the global war launched against Syria since 2011, which represented a real opportunity to settle scores with the resistance axis, which has become a real deterrent to their influence1. Consequently, Israel has been an important partner in the war from the beginning, starting with plans to rely on the Muslim Brotherhood movement, in addition to the understanding with some Gulf states and Turkey to bet on the ISIS movement and the Al Nusra Front, or a direct and explicit intervention by launching air or missile attacks on Syrian territory. The most important of these was the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus in April 2024.

This way of thinking, which considers the use of force in all its forms as the only way to maintain Israeli superiority in the region, reflects the mental security structure of the vision that the Jewish State has of itself and its neighborhood. As a result, Israel launched numerous airstrikes against the positions of the Syrian army and Hezbollah, with the aim of strengthening and supporting the terrorist movement’s fighters to ensure their control over the largest area of ​​Syrian territory. Despite Israel attempt to give the impression that there is no connection with all the events of the war in Syria, Israel public contributions on the ground were enough to confirm the depth of involvement in the war. With the development of events and the defeat of the terrorist movements, Israel intervened directly in the war, in order to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Refusal to recognize the victory of the resistance axis in the war.
  2. Support terrorist movements and make them feel that Israel does not abandon its allies.
  3. Prevent the advance of the Syrian Arab Army on the southern front bordering its borders.
  4. Prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the establishment of camps for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria.
  6. Ensure that there is no direct friction between the resistance axis and the Israeli army in the Golan region.

In fact, there is a lot of evidence that confirms the clear Israeli intervention in the war as its training and logistical contribution was developed into direct participation, including the leadership of field operations, but not limited to:

  • Medical support for terrorist fighters inside Israel.
  • Direct intervention and coordination with terrorist groups: especially in Daraa – Quneitra – Golan.
  • Field intervention in battles (Israeli officers were responsible for terrorist camps). Some of them were eliminated during Syrian airstrikes against those camps.

To sum, the goal of the Israeli intervention in the global war in Syria was to try to limit the role and influence of the resistance axis. If this intervention had been successful, it would have had very important strategic opportunities and geopolitical repercussions for Israel. Since could achieve the following:

  1. Disrupt Syria’s development of its military and technological capabilities: which are based on confronting Israel and finding a strategic balance with it.
  2. Divide and fragment Syria: involving the state and the army in internal political and military confrontations to weaken and fragment them.
  3. Destruction of Syrian unconventional weapons: the withdrawal of Syrian chemical weapons during the war in 2014, in accordance with United Nations Resolution 2118.
  4. Limit arms transfers to Lebanese Hezbollah: This is achieved by attacking supply lines and transferring weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon without entering into a comprehensive war with them.
  5. Limit Iranian influence: This is achieved by destabilizing Syria and increasing the intensity of the sectarian and nationalist confrontation between Shiite Persian Iran and Sunni Arab countries.

Although Israel was able to gain benefits from the global war against Syria, with all that, there are also serious geopolitical changes and future threats as a result of the strategic victory of the resistance axis in that war in cooperation with Russia. The nature of the challenges it faces has become very different, requiring creating radical modifications to the structure and concept of Israeli national security. The most important of these threats and changes are:

  • The resistance axis now has offensive military capabilities that can reach Israeli depth.
  • The Syrian army and Hezbollah now have tremendous military experience as a result of the guerrilla war with terrorist movements.
  • The Axis of Resistance will develop its military strategy based on attacking Israel’s air and maritime superiority in any future confrontation.

In light of the above, and as a result of the victories achieved by the Syrian army and the resistance movements, it must be recognized that the new political and military realities resulting from the global war against Syria confirm the existence of a clearly defined strategic vision by the resistance axis to confront the Israeli plans.

Therefore, the attack by the Palestinian movement Hamas on October 7, 2023 and the direct Iranian military attack on Israel (in April 2024) through hundreds of marches and missiles as a reaction and self-defense after its consulate in Damascus being subjected to Israeli bombing, can be considered just a simple example that reflects the extent of radical military geopolitical changes in the balance of power, which will be just a point in the ocean of a future comprehensive confrontation on all fronts between Israel and the axis of resistance.

1  The resistance axis: is a political term used primarily in the Middle East and means the implicit strategic alliance (political and military) that primarily opposes the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This axis includes: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, as well as the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, also the Houthi Ansar Allah movement in Yemen.