Israel Strikes Syrian Army: Was IDF’s Response To Syria’s Stray Rockets Justified? [Update]

When rockets launched by Syrian army strayed into Israel’s territory, the latter decided to strike back. Israel’s IDF seems to have launched two rockets at military installations on the Syrian side.

The Israeli army sent two rockets into the Syrian side after the latter’s rockets had strayed into its territory. The IDF shelled Syrian army posts located in the central Golan Heights.

Thereafter, Israeli military released a statement confirming the retaliatory bombardment, saying, “The IDF holds the Syrian military responsible for all events stemming from its territory and will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty and the safety of its residents.”

Incidentally, the stray rockets that landed in the 70 percent of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel weren’t anywhere near populated regions. There were no damages, injuries, or casualties. These rockets didn’t even trigger the missile warning systems that Israel has deployed. Since the projectiles exploded in a desolate region, the warning sirens remained silent. However, Israel took offense to the unintended strike that was clearly the result of a “misfire,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

But the alleged misfire happened two days in a row, confirmed Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner, who said that two rockets — one on Saturday and a second on Sunday evening — were “misfired” into the Israeli-occupied territory, reported MSN.

Syria Claims Not Two, But Three Rockets Were Launched By Israel

Syria, on the other hand, has a little harsher version of events. A spokesman for the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) in Quinetra and the Golan, a local alliance of armed opposition groups, said that Israel launched not two, but three missiles that targeted three different areas. In response to a couple of errant rockets “accidentally landing” in Syria, he said the Israeli military has been sending out warplanes, which were seen flying above the Syrian side of the Golan now.

Interestingly, the IDF has independently ascertained that rockets were the result of stray fire from nearby internal Syrian civil war battles, but it’s obvious they wanted to send a clear warning.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “Syrian artillery gun positions taking part in civil war battles were behind the stray fire into Israel on Sunday and Saturday. From our perspective this is a violation of sovereignty and a crossing of a red line. The State of Israel has no intention of ignoring such incidents, and the IDF therefore attacked two Syrian army artillery positions this evening. We view the Syrian regime and its army as being responsible for what happens in their territory and we will not be tolerant in cases such as these.”

The ongoing civil war in Syria has occasionally resulted in rockets straying into Israel. The latter too has chosen to respond only when its territory was affected, choosing to be a non-participant otherwise. It’s apparent that the shared region of Golan Heights is uncomfortable for both the countries.

Israel Has Chosen To Stay Away From The Civil War In Syria, Retaliating Only When Threatened

However, with indications of rising Russia’s involvement in Syria, in support of President Bashar Assad, could Israel change its stand? Russia has intensified its aid and it could be resulting in increase in the intensity of clashes. Moreover, the number of refugees fleeing the country’s civil war has significantly increased too. Given the strike capability Israel possess, should it be concerned about the possibility of fallout from the Syrian civil war?

[Update] According to the Times of Israel, a deputy brigade commander of the Syrian army’s 90th battalion was injured in the IDF strike.

[Image Credit | Sergei Venyavsky, Uriel Sinai, Menahem Kahana / Getty Images]