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Updated January 16th, 2024 at 15:25 IST

Israeli-Hamas conflict may be dragging Iran and Syria to yet another Middle Eastern conflict

The killing of a key Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander, Sayyed Razi Mousavi by Israel may intensify the ongoing conflict with Iran in Syria.

Yuvraj Tyagi
IDF Troops
The killing of Mousavi, a seasoned IRGC commander, underscores the rising stakes in the conflict and the growing hostilities between Iran and Israel. | Image:IDF
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Damascus: In a recent Israeli airstrike near Damascus, Sayyed Razi Mousavi, a top IRGC commander deeply involved in Syrian operations, lost his life, marking a critical development in the ongoing conflict between Iran and Israel within Syrian borders. This event highlights the broader context of Iran's actions potentially dragging Syria into a new war. 

Iran's historic alliance with Syria, viewed as one of the oldest and most enduring in the region, is facing unprecedented challenges. Tehran's military and economic investments in Syria, meant to preserve its geostrategic alignment within the axis of resistance, are now contributing to escalating tensions, threatening to entangle Syria in another war. 

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Escalating Iranian-Israeli tensions 

The killing of Mousavi, a seasoned IRGC commander, is a manifestation of the intensifying hostilities between Iran and Israel. The Israeli airstrike, specifically targeting key IRGC figures near Damascus, underscores the rising stakes in the conflict, raising concerns about the potential spillover effect on Syria's internal stability. 

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As Iran actively uses Syria as a second front against Israel, its trusted proxy, Hezbollah, plays a pivotal role. Deploying forces along the Lebanese-Syrian border and strategic locations in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah aims to engage Israel on multiple fronts. The proxy warfare further complicates the situation, increasing the risk of broader regional implications. 

Iran's encirclement strategy 

Iran's longstanding objective since the beginning of the Syrian conflict has been to create conditions for encircling the Israeli state. By pre-positioning military assets along the Syrian-Israeli border and around the Golan Heights, Iran aims to engage Israel strategically. However, this strategy is now raising concerns about the potential destabilization of the entire region.

Determined to keep the Iranian threat at bay, Israel has responded with an aggressive defense strategy. Frequent air raids on Syria's major airports and attacks on Iranian-affiliated positions indicate Israel's heightened concerns. The risk of further escalation looms large, with potential repercussions for neighboring countries and the overall stability of the region. 

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As the Syrian internal conflict concludes, Iran's actions are placing the stability of the Assad regime's hard-won victory in jeopardy. While the Syrian government should focus on reconstruction, Iran's confidence in taking risks without seeking Damascus's approval raises questions about Syria's agency in the unfolding scenario. 

Critical decision for Syria 

The Syrian government faces a critical decision point – whether to remain a spectator and risk being dragged into another conflict orchestrated by Iran or to intervene and assert control over its own fate. Iran's pursuit of an unstable and conflict-ridden Syria aligns with its strategic objectives, but Syria's response will shape the trajectory of events.

An IDF soldier during ground operations in Gaza. | Credit- AP

The broader implications of Iran's actions dragging Syria into a new conflict are significant for regional stability. The potential for a fresh escalatory cycle between Iran and Israel within Syrian borders poses risks that extend beyond national boundaries, emphasizing the need for diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions. 

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In conclusion, the killing of a senior IRGC commander in Syria serves as a news peg for the broader narrative of Iran dragging Syria into a new conflict. The strategic dynamics, proxy warfare, and the risks of regional destabilization underscore the complexities of the situation, necessitating careful consideration of Syria's role in shaping its future. 

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Published January 16th, 2024 at 15:25 IST

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