IDF said to drop threatening flyers in Syrian Golan after overnight strike nearby
Syrian troops warned to stop cooperating with Hezbollah; pamphlets also name Hezbollah commander who has been active at targeted Syrian military sites
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
The Israel Defense Forces reportedly dropped threatening pamphlets in southern Syria on Wednesday, warning Syrian soldiers to stop cooperating with Hezbollah, hours after reportedly conducting missile strikes on an observation post and a “finance building” near the Quneitra border town.
The flyers, which were written in Arabic and addressed to “Syrian [Arab] Army soldiers,” matched the style of similar leaflets that have been dropped in Syria in the past and included the silhouette of an eagle — the symbol of the IDF’s 210th “Bashan” Division, which is tasked with defending Israel’s frontier with Syria and the Golan Heights. The IDF refused to comment on the matter.
In the pamphlet, the Israeli military appeared to take responsibility for the overnight strikes. The IDF generally does not publicly acknowledge strikes it has carried out in Syria in recent years, under its general policy of ambiguity regarding its efforts against Hezbollah in the country.
“To the leaders and members of the Syrian army, we have warned you and continue to warn you, we will not stop as long as your cooperation with Hezbollah continues” the flyer reads.
The flyer also directly names the Hezbollah official that the IDF believes is facilitating the relationship between the Iran-backed terror group and the Syrian military, Jawad Hasham, the son of Hajj Hasham, who leads Hezbollah’s efforts along the Syrian border.
The flyer said Syrian soldiers “repeatedly” allowed Hajj Jawad Hashem “to breach the infrastructure of the Syrian army, including… in the finance building and Rwihinah base,” where the overnight strikes took place.
“Those who cooperate with Hezbollah… are targets,” it warns.
الجيش الإسرائيلي يلقي منشورات تحذيرية في انحاء القنيطرة يذكر ويهدد نظام الأسد بعدم التعاون مع ميليشيا حزب الله وعدم التعاون مع المدعو "الحاج حواد هاشم" قائد ميليشيا حزب الله في القنيطرة#مراسل_الشرقية_الرسمي ✅ pic.twitter.com/PptcsfmANh
— مراسل الشرقية (@YusufAd76532779) February 23, 2022
The IDF has repeatedly accused Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s military of actively assisting Hezbollah and warned it against this, both through flyers dropped along the border and through overt, public appeals, in some cases naming the Syrian and Hezbollah officials involved, including officers from Syria’s 90th Brigade and 1st Division.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria over the years and against Syrian military installations in cases where they were being used to attack Israel or Israeli forces.
Israel fears Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.