Israel 'secretly coordinates' with US over airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets: WSJ

Israel 'secretly coordinates' with US over airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets: WSJ
Israel, for years, has been coordinating with US officials ahead of their airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria according to a report published by the WSJ.
2 min read
17 June, 2022
The US-Israel covert operation is 'well-developed and deliberate', according to one unnamed American official [Getty]

Israel secretly coordinates with the United States in its airstrikes against Iranian targets, according to a bombshell report published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. 

American officials have for years reviewed Israeli missions in Syria "for approval", mostly those around their strategic Al-Tanf military base near Syria's borders with Iraq and Jordan, according to the WSJ.

The clandestine coordination aims to bolster Israeli attacks on Iran while taking care of US interests in the region - primarily the struggle against the Islamic State group - and avoid the possibility of more direct confrontation between Washington and Tehran, according to the American newspaper. 

"The formal coordination hasn’t been previously reported, and the secrecy surrounding it shows how Washington has sought to support its Israeli ally without being drawn into Israel’s shadow war against Iran," the WSJ wrote.

The US does not pick targets or provide approval for all Israeli airstrikes in Syria, according to the report which quoted unnamed US officials. 

There are at least two known occasions when the US requested Israeli operations be halted: during the 2019 Delta Force raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and during the campaign against IS in the Euphrates River Valley. 

The policy is "well-developed and deliberate," one unnamed US official told WSJ.

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A number of foreign actors are involved in the war in Syria, including Russia, which is aligned with Bashar Al-Assad, and Turkey, which has supported the Syrian opposition and waged war against Kurdish-led forces.

Iran has also backed the Syrian regime, sending proxy militias and trafficking weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah through Syria 

Israel has carried out more than 400 airstrikes in Syria since 2017, WSJ said in April of this year, with the declared objective of weakening Tehran’s ability to strike Israel. 

The United States has battled IS forces in Syria since 2014 and maintains around 1,000 troops in the country. It is also trying to renegotiate a deal with Iran to restore a 2015 nuclear deal, placing caps on Iran’s uranium enrichment in exchange for lifting sanctions.