Logo Wide

Syria Today – Israel Shoots Drone Coming from Syria, Edges Towards War in Hezbollah

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Israel Shoots Drone Coming from Syria, Edges Towards War in Hezbollah

On Tuesday morning, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet intercepted and brought down a “suspicious aerial target,” suspected to be a drone, as it breached Israeli airspace from Syria. Concurrently, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expressed concern over escalating tensions with Hezbollah militants along the Lebanese border, suggesting a heightened risk of military confrontation.

Fighter jet shoots down apparent drone that entered Israeli airspace from Syria

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down a “suspicious aerial target” — believed to be a drone — that entered Israeli airspace from Syria on Tuesday morning, the Israeli army said.

No further details were given, and it was unclear who was behind the apparent attack.

Amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, there have been several drone attacks on Israel launched by Iran-backed militias from Syria and Iraq, in addition to the hundreds of attacks carried out by Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

Hezbollah on Monday night fired a barrage of rockets at northern Israel, resulting in damage that knocked out power in several towns, as the military struck targets in Lebanon following a deadly cross-border attack by the terror group earlier in the day.

Turkey spy chief Kalin to meet CIA’s Burns, discuss Syria on first US visit 

The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency, Ibrahim Kalin, is making his first public solo trip to the United States since taking the position, and will meet this week the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns, Al-Monitor reported

In addition to bilateral ties, Iraq, Syria, and Gaza cease-fire efforts and the Russia-Ukraine war are expected to top the agenda of the visit, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency reported on Monday.

Kalin will also meet White House and State Department officials, as well as members of Congress, the news agency reported. 

Kalin’s first public solo visit to the US capital since he took the position comes at a critical time. The spy chief is expected to raise Turkey’s fight against groups that it deems a threat to its national security, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — a militant group that has been waging an armed campaign against Turkey for Kurdish self-rule inside the country since 1984.

‘A critical point’: Gallant warns Israel edging closer to war with Hezbollah

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday the continuing tension with Hezbollah terrorists at the border with Lebanon was moving the situation nearer to a military escalation, JPost.com reported.

“We are committed to the diplomatic process, however, Hezbollah’s aggression is bringing us closer to a critical point in the decision-making regarding our military activities in Lebanon,” he said in a statement following a meeting with US Special Envoy Amos Hochstein.

Earlier on Tuesday, an unmanned aerial vehicle that infiltrated the Golan Heights from Syria was intercepted by an Israeli fighter jet, according to Israeli media, as rockets continued to be fired onto Israel’s northern border towns from Lebanon.

Iran negotiating with Syria, Iraq on joint free zone

The Secretary of the Iranian Free Zones High Council has said the country is negotiating with Syria and Iraq for the establishment of a trilateral joint free zone, IRNA reported.

Hojatollah Abdolmaleki said the establishment of the mentioned free zone is going to result in a jump in investment from all three parties and the Iranian Free Zones High Council is seriously pursuing the subject.

“We have held talks with officials of Iraq and Syria to establish the joint free zone, and the negotiating parties have expressed their agreement in this regard, and we are waiting for a tripartite meeting,” he said.

The establishment of this joint free zone will benefit all three countries and make Iran’s access to the Mediterranean region very easy, the official added.

Abdolmaleki further noted that the Islamic Republic is negotiating with 21 different countries to establish joint free zones, with six of which agreement documents have also been signed.

Why Syrian refugees are returning from host countries — despite fear of persecution

Arab News published a long report which delved into the complex situation of Syrian refugees who are making the difficult decision to return to their homeland from host countries, despite the fear of persecution and the dire conditions that await them. The United Nations Human Rights Office has documented severe human rights violations and abuses faced by returnees at the hands of Syrian authorities and various armed groups. These abuses include enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture, ill-treatment in detention, and death in custody.

The influx of refugees returning to Syria, according to the report, has been attributed to the increasingly hostile and economically dire conditions in host countries. Lebanon and Turkey, in particular, have seen a significant number of refugees choose to return to Syria, driven by a lack of employment opportunities, harassment, and the tightening of regulations by host governments. This situation is exacerbated by a global decrease in sympathy and support for Syrian refugees as the conflict becomes protracted.

Since 2016, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has verified or monitored the return of at least 388,679 Syrians from neighboring countries. Many refugees face a grim choice between staying in host countries, where conditions are deteriorating, and returning to Syria, where safety and basic services are not guaranteed. The decision to return is often made in desperation, influenced by push factors in host countries such as unemployment, harassment, and barriers to education for children, outweighing the dangerous conditions they face upon return.

The reports explain how hostility towards refugees in neighbouring countries has grown, with politicians leveraging anti-refugee rhetoric for political and economic gain. This has led to discriminatory measures against Syrians, such as curfews and rental restrictions, further marginalizing them and pushing them towards the decision to return to Syria.

Refugees returning to Syria often rely on family networks and the promise of job opportunities or safety assurances from relatives who remained during the conflict. Some employ a strategy of returning in waves, with the primary breadwinner going first to assess the situation before the rest of the family follows.

The report concludes that despite the challenges, the Lebanese government has announced plans to repatriate 15,000 Syrian refugees per month, asserting that the war is over and Syria is safe for return. However, this view is contested by experts and human rights organizations, who argue that Syria is not yet safe for a dignified and voluntary return. The international community and host countries are urged to consider the complexities of the Syrian refugee situation and work towards a political resolution to the conflict, ensuring that any return is safe, voluntary, and dignified.



Helpful keywords