Israel must halt the re-consolidation of the Syrian regime, especially in Syria’s south, by learning from the successful Russian intervention there, only in reverse.If the Russians helped consolidate the regime through air power, all the more so must Israel now release the IAF’s might to stop the further consolidation of the regime.Since the First Lebanon War 36 years ago, the Israeli leadership has been caught in the mantra that non-involvement in foreign battle fields is better than engagement.That spell continues to bear its imprint on Israeli policies towards Syria despite the massive aerial strikes dispatched against Syrian and Iranian installations and forces.The truth is that no “rule” is the same for all situations – and this one is downright false for Israel regarding Syria today.Israel, unlike according to the so-called “lessons” of the First Lebanon War, must become massively engaged in Syrian affairs to halt the reconsolidation of a regime that has exacted blood and treasure from Israel for so long and which will, as an Iranian puppet, be compelled to do so five-fold in the future if allowed to reconsolidate its rule, especially in Syria’s south bordering the Golan Heights.What must Israel do? The Syrians are advancing southward against the last rebel strongholds in the Dara’a area. The IAF must stop that advance immediately, hitting at the movement of forces and Syrian positions with the aim of exacting a heavy human price.Drawing heavy casualties must be added to the list of Israeli objectives in Syria. This is of crucial importance because of the unique demographic attributes of Israel’s enemies, the Alawite regime, its Hezbollah supporters and even the Iranians.EYAL ZISSER, Israel’s leading Syria expert, has analyzed demographic growth across Syria as reflected in the 2004 census. He found out that Alawites – the community behind the regime and which accounts by far for the largest reservoir of Syria’s fighters – had the lowest growth rates in the country. Zisser estimated before the rebellion in 2011 that the Alawite community represented only six to seven percent of the population rather than the 10-12% commonly attributed to it.The Syrian regime’s demographic plight could have only declined since 2011. Certainly, its imprint can be found on the battlefield.Throughout the rebellion, the regime fought in an ad hoc manner. Up to 2015, almost any advance on one front inevitably meant a loss on another. For example, when it assaulted Homs, it lost ground in Idlib. The reason was a lack of manpower to conduct two-front assaults even with the help of the Hezbollah and the popular militias.Even when, in the fall of 2015, massive Russian air power tilted the balance of power in the Syrian regime’s favor, the difficulties of sustaining casualties and an aging fighting force meant that it could only consolidate its hold in piecemeal fashion. Syria had to decide which front to advance, either east of Aleppo and Homs against Islamic State or in the eastern suburbs and towns of Ghouta against other Islamic militias, but never simultaneously – there was simply insufficient manpower to do otherwise.Part of this indelible pattern was the numerous local truces between rebel militias and the regime, many of them “brokered” by the Russians and Iranians, which allowed it to advance on one front only.As the regime became more powerful, the truces were replaced by preplanned and highly organized withdrawals of rebel forces and their families, brokered by Russia, from areas both west and east of Damascus to Idlib. Photos of rebels and their families boarding buses surrounded by Russian military police – and then these cordons of buses being led by Russian military vehicles on the journey to Idlib through government controlled areas – became commonplace.UNFORTUNATELY FOR the Sunni community – certainly for the rebels and for Israel – the divided rebel forces numbering hundreds of groups fought each other as much as they fought against the Syrian army and its regimes.It was this chronic divisiveness and internecine fighting that allowed the Syrian regime to consolidate its hold, which Israel must break.The same demographic predicament affects the Shi’ite community in Lebanon, which provides the pool of manpower for Hezbollah. Like the Alawites, the Shi’ites are a small community.Lebanese demographic data is notoriously inaccurate; the official demographic agency of the state gives population estimates with a discrepancy of a third between the higher figure of nearly five million and the lower one of no more than 3.5 million – and no data regarding the communities that make up the Lebanese population. As a result, estimates for the Shi’ite community range from one to two million.Fortunately, I unearthed a very detailed compilation of data for Lebanese schools in 2006 – down to the exact number of students in every school – that clearly demonstrated the paucity of schools and students in predominantly Shi’ite districts. Through simple demographic extrapolation, one can say that the smaller population estimate is closer to the truth.This means that this small community has been sacrificing its sons, with only brief respites, since the establishment of Hezbollah in 1982 – first against Israel and its allied militia until 2000, then in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and again since 2011 in Syrian battle fields.Adding to the impact of incessant bloodshed are studies that claim that Shi’ite fertility rates in Lebanon (and indeed those of the population of Iran), had dropped by 2004 to replacement levels, and that they are currently at the European levels of around 1.7 children per women when the replacement level is above two children.This means that those induced to replace aging fighters will increasingly come from very small families for whom loss will be especially costly.Israel must draw the lessons from the successful Russian intervention in Syria – only to do the exact opposite.If the Russians helped consolidate the regime by pounding rebel troops into agreeing to truces and withdrawals through the strategic use of air power, all the more so must Israel now release the IAF’s might to stop further consolidation of the regime – in addition, of course, to trying to unite and arm the rebel forces in southern Syria as much as possible.And not only is the will important, but so is the way – by exacting enemy losses. The more manpower the Syrian army and Hezbollah loose, the greater the reluctance to – and deterrence against – continuing to fight Israel in the future.Was it not Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, who said: “If you will it, it will be no legend.” In other words, where there’s the will, there’s the way.The author is a Senior Researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.