IDF said to strike site in Syrian Golan, drop threatening flyers

Syrian troops reportedly warned to stop cooperating with Hezbollah; Israeli airstrike late Saturday allegedly targeted radar system

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A flyer dropped by the Israeli military on the Syrian side of the border in the Golan Heights, on December 11, 2022. (Twitter)
A flyer dropped by the Israeli military on the Syrian side of the border in the Golan Heights, on December 11, 2022. (Twitter)

The Israel Defense Forces dropped threatening pamphlets in southern Syria on Sunday warning Syrian soldiers to stop cooperating with Hezbollah, opposition media reported, hours after it reportedly conducted missile strikes on a Syrian military site.

The flyers, which were said to have been 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 usually does not publicly acknowledge carrying out strikes in Syria, under its general policy of ambiguity regarding its efforts against Hezbollah in the country.

“Time after time you have been responsible for the harm caused by your decisions. The continuing presence of Hezbollah in the area of Tel al-Qalib and collaboration with it has brought and will bring you nothing good. The presence of Hezbollah in the area has brought you humiliation and you are paying the price for that,” the flyer reads.

The late Saturday night strike against an SAA radar system in the Tel al-Qalib area, near as-Suwayda, was reported by opposition-affiliated media in Syria. There was no comment by Syria’s official SANA news agency or other regime-affiliated outlets.

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.

Illustrative: IDF tank soldiers from the 53rd Battalion of the 188th Tank Brigade are seen at an outpost overlooking Syrian villages near the Israeli border in the southern Golan Heights on May 23, 2022. (Michael Giladi/ Flash90)

While Israel’s military does not as a rule comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country, over the last decade.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

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