On 6 February 2018, Israel bombed a Syrian Military Research Centre at Jamraya near Damascus [1]. The justification the Israeli army used for this operation: the important aim of destroying a centre of research on chemical weapons. This rhetoric has been rejected by the US Defense Secretary, General Jim Mattis, who declared to a journalist from Newsweek that there was absolutely no evidence that Syria had ever used chemical weapons [2]. In actual fact, the centre at Jamaraya was home to Iranian technicians who had been tasked with adapting methods of precision guidance for long range missiles.

Israel’s fear is that Iran might help Syria recover the Golan which, under international law, it (Israel) is occupying illegally. In any event, this is what we can conclude from the map published on 11 February in the evening by the Israeli army, later withdrawn by Tsahal. On this map, the Golan is described as a “disputed territory” and not an integral part of Israel.

From its base at Palmyre, Iran had probably sent a drone comparable to the US RQ-170 Sentinel above the occupied Golan. Tsahal had brought it down and had launched a vast operation aimed at destroying seven Iranian sites in Syria. An Israeli F-16 had been brought down by Syria.

Anoosha Boralessa

[1« Messages irano-israéliens autour du Golan occupé », Réseau Voltaire, 7 février 2018 [English translation prepared by Anoosha Boralessa, Feb 15 2018].

[2Mattis Admits There Was No Evidence Assad Used Poison Gas on His People”, Ian Wilkie, Newsweek, February 8, 2018.