south front

New Israeli Government, Same Strikes On Syria
South Front, Jun 18 2021

Not a week goes by without Israel reminding the Damascus government of its assertiveness. Early on Jun 17, Israeli battle tanks shelled a Syrian military post in the vicinity of the town of al-Qahtaniya in the southern al-Quneitra countryside. The post, located approximately 150 m from the separation line, belonged to the 90th Brigade, the largest unit of the Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Corps. Usually there are 12 SAA soldiers deployed there, but no casualties were reported. Israel’s targets are usually somehow related to Iran, at least allegedly. In this case, the post was reportedly visited by Munir Ali Naim Shaito, a senior commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah several times in the past. After the attack, the IOF dropped leaflets over al-Quneitra warning SAA service members from collaborating with Shaito, who is also known as “Jawad Hashim” and “Haj Hashim.” This was the first time Israel attacked Syrian territory since Naftali Bennett became Prime Minister. This is an indication that little will change, despite the ‘government of change’ in Tel Aviv. On the other side of Syria, Israel’s most significant ally, the US, carried out a rare exercise for its artillery troops. On Jun 14, US forces held a live-fire exercise with heavy artillery at a base located within the al-Omar oil fields in Syria’s northeastern region. Soldiers from the US Army’s 156th Infantry Regiment and 141st Field Artillery Regiment took part in the artillery exercise. According to the US Central Command, the troops trained on the M777 155 mm towed howitzer. The last time such an exercise was held was back in 2020, when the US Army deployed the M777 howitzers in Syria’s northeast for the first time. In order to defend its positions, and an indication that the US Army isn’t going away from Syria, anytime soon, the development of its own variation of Israel’s Iron Dome is on-going. Several variations are being worked on by US companies, some directly using the Iron Dome, combined with other systems, the others using rehashed older American systems. A sense of urgency is being felt, as if it were it not necessary to enter it into combat service so soon, there would be more time for development of a brand-new system. It is likely that the recent operations against the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ in Greater Idlib, and the containment of ISIS in the central region, have signaled that the SAA and its Russian support could turn their gaze towards other unwanted presences on Syrian territory.

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