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December 28, 2021 1:51 pm

‘Campaign Between Wars’: Israel Struck ‘Dozens’ of Syrian Targets in 2021 to Disrupt Weapons Transfer to Iranian Proxies

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Smoke rises after Syrian state media reported an Israeli missile attack in a container storage area, at Syrian port of Latakia, Syria, in this handout picture released by SANA on December 28, 2021. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

The Israeli army said Tuesday that airstrike operations carried out this year hit “dozens” of targets in Syria and have limited the ability of Iran to funnel arms to its proxies in the region.

“The increase in the scope of operations over the past year has led to a significant disruption of the movement of weapons into the various arenas by our enemies,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi stated.

During 2021, the Israeli army has struck dozens of targets in Syria and three targets in Lebanon as part of the country’s so-called “campaign between wars,” the IDF said in an end-of-year report. The campaign focuses on striking targets in Syrian territory and Lebanon, mostly linked to Iran and its proxies, to hit the Islamic Republic’s military build-up and its capabilities, while avoiding escalation.

“The IDF concludes a year of very significant operational activity. We have dealt with threats on various fronts, all of them fueled by Iran,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz. “We will not allow Iran to funnel disruptive weapons to its proxies who threaten the citizens of Israel.”

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Syrian state media on Tuesday charged Israel with carrying out air strike on the Syrian port of Latakia, causing fire at the container storage area, damaging nearby buildings, and leading to “big material damages,” in a second attack on the facility this month.

Israeli media reported earlier this month that three quarters of Iran’s weapons supply in Syria has been hit by IDF strikes.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army has in recent months stepped up its readiness for a potential conflict and is fortifying the civilian resilience along the northern border with Syria and Lebanon. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday reiterated Israel’s intention to “act alone” to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-threshold state “if necessary,” as negotiations between Tehran and world powers resumed in Vienna.

Israel this year confronted 31 rocket and mortar attacks fired from Lebanon by the Hezbollah terror organization and Palestinian militants, the IDF said. Two rockets were fired from Syria during the May hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terror group. In response to the rocket and mortar fire from Lebanon, the Israeli army fired about 200 artillery shells and 15 munitions from fighter jets.

The Israeli army also said it foiled nine infiltration attempts from Lebanon and one from Syria, seizing 120 kilograms of drugs and 75 weapons during the course of this year. Overall, the IDF thwarted 13 smuggling attempts in Lebanon and Syria during 2021 compared with eight last year and nine in 2019.

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