Russian media cautioned this week of a possible confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in southern Syria.
Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Monday on Israeli preparations for an armed conflict on the border with Syria in 2021.
“Southern Syria could turn into the arena of the first northern war between Israel and the Iranian forces,” it wrote, citing the threat assessment for 2021 presented by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University (INSS).
The daily said Israeli experts, most of whom are former representatives of the Israeli army and intelligence agencies, recommended that Israel be prepared for such a development, adding that pro-Iranian forces will be able to significantly increase the accuracy of their attacks against Israeli positions in 2021.
The experts did not rule out the “military option” should administration of US President-elect Joe Biden decide to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel will work on easing the danger of the possible return to the bad deal, they said.
The report said that Israel must continue its operations to weaken pro-Iranian forces and prevent their entrenchment in Syria.
Observers believe that a chief threat is Hezbollah’s efforts to obtain precision-guided missiles that would pose a significant threat to Israeli air defenses.
The Russian daily noted that Israel has upped its attacks on Iranian positions in Syria in recent days, targeting Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force in the south and west.
At the same time, the Israeli military has boosted defenses in the south by deploying Iron Dome anti-missile batteries near the city of Eilat.
The daily linked the developments to predictions that Israel could be subject to rocket attacks not just from the Gaza Strip, but from northwestern Yemen.
The experts said that it remains to be seen just how successful Iran’s proxies have been in developing precision-guided missiles, but Yemen appears to be a potential location from where attacks can be launched against Israel.