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Syria Today – Fearful of Israeli Attack, Iran and Hezbollah Decrease Presence in Syria

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Fearful of Israeli Attack, Iran and Hezbollah Decrease Presence in Syria

Reports claimed on Wednesday that Iran is currently preparing for potential Israeli retaliation against its territory or proxies following Tehran’s missile attack on Israel on Sunday, Jpost.com reported

As such, Iran has allegedly removed senior Hezbollah and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from Syria. 

This comes amid US and European pressure on Israel to respond in a way that prevents further escalation following Tehran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend.

Reports citing Iranian officials said Wednesday claimed that Iran is currently preparing its air force for potential strikes, and its navy would commence escorting Iranian commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Additionally, Tehran has initiated the evacuation of personnel from sites in Syria with a significant presence of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Syrian and Iranian officials and advisers.

U.S. Enhances Air Defense in Northeast Syria Amid Regional Tensions

Kurdistan 24 has reported that U.S. forces are deploying advanced air defence systems at their bases in Northeast Syria and Rojava, a strategic response to the increasing threats from Iranian-backed militias and ongoing regional conflicts.

Recent observations by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that a U.S. cargo plane landed at the Al-Omar base near Deir Ez-Zor, where it began the installation of these sophisticated defence systems. This action reflects Washington’s ongoing commitment to securing its interests and protecting its personnel in the tumultuous Syrian theatre.

In a display of strategic complexity, U.S. forces have also increased security measures around the Al-Omar base through a joint military patrol with members of Hezbollah, underlining the intricate and often contradictory alliances in the area. Additionally, the coalition has enhanced its logistical operations, dispatching 40 trucks filled with weapons and ammunition to their bases at Tell Beydar, north of Al-Hasakah.

Further expanding its defensive capabilities, the United States plans to deploy state-of-the-art anti-drone laser systems across the Middle East. This decision aims to counter the rising threat of Iranian drone and missile attacks. These innovative laser systems, currently in development through agreements with multiple weapons manufacturers, are praised for their precision and ability to neutralize aerial threats from significant distances. This move highlights the critical role of technological advancement in contemporary military strategy and underscores the U.S.’s proactive stance in adapting to new forms of warfare.

Miscalculation leads to escalation as Israel and Iran clash

The New York Times published an analysis which provides a comprehensive account of the recent escalations in the conflict between Israel and Iran, focusing particularly on an Israeli airstrike on April 1, 2024, which targeted and killed several senior Iranian commanders in Syria. This strike was executed without prior notification to the United States, catching Israel’s closest ally off-guard and causing a rift between the allies due to the lack of consultation.

The Israeli officials, according to the report, underestimated Iran’s response, believing it would not provoke a significant retaliation. Contrary to their expectations, Iran responded with a massive barrage of over 300 drones and missiles targeting Israel. This response, while largely intercepted and causing minimal damage, marked a significant escalation in the conflict dynamics, indicating a shift in the unwritten rules of engagement between the two countries.

The attack’s aftermath saw a flurry of diplomatic activities, with U.S. and Israeli officials reassessing their strategies and response scales. Interviews with officials from the U.S., Israel, Iran, and other Middle Eastern states (all anonymous) provide insight into the internal deliberations and the external diplomatic exchanges that followed.

The U.S. found itself in a delicate position, having been uninformed about the strike beforehand, while Iran, despite its aggressive response, communicated through diplomatic channels its intention to avoid a full-scale war. This situation has led to intense diplomatic efforts by the U.S. to manage the fallout, urging Israel to view their successful missile defense as a victory in itself and to avoid further escalation.

The article concludes with the broader implications of this conflict, noting the potential for a spiraling cycle of retribution between Israel and Iran that could destabilize the region further and impact global peace. The narrative captures the tensions, strategic miscalculations, and the diplomatic dance that follows military confrontations in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Jordan calls for continued support for Syrian refugees on its territory

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi has called for the continuation of support for Syrian refugees residing on its territory, amid the economic conditions faced by the country, to ensure a “decent” life for them, Enab Baladi reported.

According to the official website of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Safadi discussed in a phone call with the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, on Tuesday, April 16, the support provided by the European Union to Jordan, in order to help it cope with the consequences of regional crises and enhance the developmental process and the situation of Syrian refugees in Jordan.

The Jordanian channel Al-Mamlaka reported that al-Safadi reviewed the financial and economic difficulties faced by Jordan, resulting from regional crises, especially the “Syrian crisis” and the current Israeli war on Gaza.

The Jordanian minister spoke of the importance of a package of aid amounting to over 900 million euros in November 2023.

The latest data published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the current April indicates that there are more than 638,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Despite al-Safadi’s talk about the importance of the support provided for the Syrian refugees in Jordan, the Jordanian Interior Minister, Mazen al-Faraya, spoke in mid-2023 about the fact that the financial support provided as part of the Jordanian response plan to the Syrian crisis amounts to 7.5% of the required funding for the first half of the same year.

Suweida lawyers refuse Ba’ath interference 

Lawyers in Suweida Governorate in southern Syria announced on Wednesday their refusal of the participation of Ba’ath Party in their upcoming conference.

“Lawyers are calling for the exclusion of the Ba’ath Party and the security branches from the upcoming conference,” said Lina Abu Hamdan, a lawyer from Suweida. 

The conference of the Lawyers Syndicate is scheduled to be held on Thursday in the city of Suweida.

On April 15, the lawyers met Ghassan Ghurz, the head of the Lawyers Syndicate in Suweida, and expressed their refusal regarding the participation of a representative of the Ba’ath Party from Damascus.

Marwan Nafe’, a lawyer from Suweida, said “Our syndicate is a professional party.”

“We expressed reservations about inviting a representative from the Ba’ath Party to attend the conference,” he added.  

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