IDF: Shi'ite militias fired rockets at Israel from Syria

The rockets failed to hit Israeli territory.

Iranian Quds Force sites in Aqrabeh, Syria, targeted to thwart killer drone attack (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Iranian Quds Force sites in Aqrabeh, Syria, targeted to thwart killer drone attack
Rockets were fired at Israel from the outskirts of Damascus by a Shi’ite militia operating under the command of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday.
A number of rockets were launched from Syrian territory but failed to hit Israeli territory, the statement said. “The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible for all events taking place in Syria.” The rocket fire comes more than a week after an Israeli airstrike hit a team of IRGC members with “killer drones” south of Damascus.
Last night the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that an airstrike targeted an IRGC and Shi’ite militia base near Albukamal in Syria. It is unclear if the alleged airstrike and the rocket fire are linked.
Shi’ite militias have played a key role in supporting the Assad regime over the last eight years. Some of these groups include locals but many also include volunteers from Lebanon or Iran and as far away as Afghanistan. These Shi’ite paramilitaries also include forces from Iraq who are linked to the Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces, such as Kata’ib Hezbollah. In ideology and outlook they are similar to Hezbollah and all are linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Since 2016 there have been increasing concerns that these groups are entrenching in Syria alongside Iranian IRGC positions and Hezbollah, creating a network of bases that stretch from Lebanon to Iran via Syria and Iraq. This is what is called Iran’s “land bridge” and many of the groups have openly threatened Israel. This includes Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, whose leader even went to southern Lebanon.
In recent years Israel has warned Iran against entrenching in Syria and Israel’s former chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot says more than 1,000 airstrikes have targeted Iranian targets in Syria. On August 24 Israel struck an Iranian “killer drone” team south of Damascus, killing two members of Hezbollah. On September 1 Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at Israeli vehicles on the border and on September 9 in the morning Hezbollah said an Israeli drone crashed near Ramiya in southern Lebanon.
Shi’ite militias linked to the IRGC have a presence in Syria and the attempt by them to fire rockets at Israel is a major escalation. In May 2018 and January 2019 rockets were fired at Israel by Iran’s IRGC. An Iranian drone also penetrated Israeli airspace in February 2018.
Iran has been accused of transferring precision missile technology to Iraq and then via Syria to Hezbollah. Last week the IDF released details of an Iranian-supported Hezbollah factory in the Bekaa valley that converts rockets to precision guided missiles. In addition reports since last August have indicated Iran transferred missiles to Iraq. In June 2018 an airstrike targeted a base of Kata’ib Hezbollah near Albukamal in Syria on the Iraqi border. On September 3 Fox News revealed that Iran was building a base near Albukamal. This is one of many Iranian bases in Syria that also host Shi’ite paramilitaries and Hezbollah.