There has been a lull in the hostilities between Israel and Syria since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Victory Day holiday in Moscow. But this post-May 9 period should not be mistaken for an imminent outbreak of peace. A false alarm about an incoming unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) led to a missile launch from a battery of Israel’s Iron Dome system, suggesting the Israelis are very concerned about enemy drones. Notwithstanding Putin and Netanyahu generally agreeing that all non-Russian foreign forces must leave Syria, or Putin reiterating this principal after hosting President Bashir Al-Assad in Sochi.
As Damascus based correspondent Elijah J. Magnier writes, there are no signs the Americans and their French allies or the Turks are leaving the Syrian territory they illegally occupy any time soon. The Trump Administration did cut off aid to the jihadist held territories of Syria, and also areas controlled by the Kurdish dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). This will make the Kurds more dependent on the U.S. military presence for survival (unless they reconcile with Damascus), while the jihadis, plagued by infighting across Idlib province, will become further dependent on the irredentist Turks for their salaries and food. Meanwhile, Syrian Arab Army (SAA)’s victories this week over the remaining ISIS remnants in southern Damascus and the Rastan pocket freed up more troops for operations in rural Idlib, and possibly against Israel’s illegal jihadi-manned ‘buffer zone’ in southern Syria. Another flash point is being created along the Golan Heights at the same time that political flares in Washington are being tossed into the rising oil price barrel fueled by the Israel/Saudi vs. Syria/Hezbollah/Iran conflict’s potential to explode.Read More