Ex-Intel Chief Yadlin: Recent Israeli Airstrikes in Syria Broader, More Deadly
Israeli airstrikes in eastern Syria early Wednesday were “extensive, deep in Syrian territory, targeting a wide variety of targets connected to Iran and its proxies,” explained Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin on Twitter after the attacks.
Yadlin, a former Air Force commander who served as the IDF’s chief of Military Intelligence from 2006-2010, said that Syria strikes attributed to Israel had increased in scope and pace, with Wednesday’s being the fourth since mid-December.
The raids took place against Iran-backed militias deep inside Syrian territory, reportedly killing as many as dozens of people in one of the deadliest such strikes.
“In the background, there is an expectation that Iran will retaliate for the blows it took in 2020,” Yadlin continued, referring to the killings of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leader Qassem Soleimani and the nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as well as a series of explosions at Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.
This comes “alongside noticeable restraint in Tehran as Trump’s term in office nears its conclusion,” he said. “Both Israel and the U.S. are operating under the assumption that Iran’s retaliation is in the works, and they are taking steps to promote caution, vigilance, defense, and deterrence — perhaps in coordination with one another.”
Yadlin, who has also served as the IDF attaché to the United States, is now Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies, based at Tel Aviv University.
Also Wednesday, Iran conducted a short-range naval missile drill, while the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the country had started work on type of uranium-based material that could be used to produce a nuclear bomb.
“The Iranian challenge which awaits the incoming Biden Administration is two-pronged: not only of the nuclear threat but also a conventional military threat which spreads across the [Middle East] through its proxy warfare enterprise led by the IRGC’s Quds Force,” Yadlin wrote.