Israel drops threatening flyers in south Syria following nighttime strike nearby

In pamphlets, IDF warns Syrian troops to stop cooperating with Hezbollah and takes responsibility for a June attack on a Syrian base that it says was used by the terror group

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A flier dropped on the Syrian side of the border on August 18, 2021. (Twitter)
A flier dropped on the Syrian side of the border on August 18, 2021. (Twitter)

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 twin missile strikes on a Syrian military base and an outpost controlled by the Lebanese terror group.

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 shelling of a Syrian army base earlier this summer. The Israeli military has not publicly acknowledged conducting that strike or most others that it has carried out in Syria in recent years, under its general policy of ambiguity regarding its efforts against Hezbollah in the country.

“Despite our previous warnings about this and even after the attack on the al-Qahtaniah base on 17/06/21, Hezbollah — in a manipulative way — has turned you into a tool, into marionettes. It uses you as its eyes and it uses your bases without you even knowing,” 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.

“It is no secret that Jawad Hasham is currently in the Golan and in Daraa. Your filthy actions on behalf of Hezbollah are considered by the Syrian Army to be a top priority,” the flyer reads.

The pamphlet accuses the Syrian military of allowing Hezbollah to operate within the bases and under the auspices of its 90th Brigade “in order to develop lookout capabilities and for other efforts.”

“Be careful with your actions, you are being watched through a microscope. Hasham’s help has brought you destruction and his bad intentions are coming out. You are responsible for your actions, and Hezbollah is responsible for your suffering,” it says.

According to a pro-opposition Syrian source in the Golan Heights, the office of the 90th Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Hussein Hamoush, near the city of Khader, was one of the two targets of a missile strike on Tuesday night, which Syria said Israel had carried out. The second target was said to be a Hezbollah outpost in the area.

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.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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