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Fears Grow That Syria Strikes Could Spur Retaliatory Attacks on Israel and U.S.

Present and former U.S. officers expressed fears on Tuesday that Israel’s airstrikes on an Iranian embassy compound in Syria may escalate hostilities within the area, and immediate retaliatory strikes in opposition to Israel and its American ally.

The officers mentioned the attack on Monday, which killed three generals in Iran’s Quds Drive and 4 different officers, had dealt a critical blow to the pressure, the exterior navy and intelligence service of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Ralph Goff, a former senior C.I.A. official who served within the Center East, known as Israel’s strike “extremely reckless.”

“It should solely lead to escalation by Iran and its proxies, which may be very harmful” to American troops within the area who could possibly be focused in retaliatory strikes by Tehran’s proxies, Mr. Goff mentioned.

Certainly, after the Israeli strike in Damascus, Syria’s capital, on Monday, American troops primarily based in southeastern Syria knocked down an assault drone, a Protection Division official mentioned. It was unclear if the drone was aimed on the U.S. forces, the official mentioned, talking on the situation of anonymity to debate operational particulars. If it had been, it might be the primary assault by Iran-backed militias in opposition to American troops in Iraq or Syria in almost two months. No accidents or harm had been reported.

The official mentioned there had been no additional assaults in a single day, however that Pentagon officers had been monitoring the scenario intently.

Mr. Goff mentioned the lethal strike in Syria matches Israel’s “longer-term technique of degrading” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Drive unit, and “punishing them for ongoing plots to kill or kidnap Israeli Jews all over the world.”

In the yearslong shadow war between Iran and Israel, Syria has been key terrain for Israel because it labored to degrade Iran’s skill to maneuver superior weaponry by land and air nearer to Israel’s borders.

“The strike yesterday is a major escalation and dangers tipping an already unstable, unstable area into full-scale conflict,” mentioned Dana Stroul, previously the Pentagon’s prime Center East coverage official who’s now on the Washington Institute for Close to East Coverage. “That is the Israeli model of the U.S. strike on Qassim Suleimani,” she mentioned, referring to the previous longtime chief of the Quds Drive who was killed by an American drone strike close to the Baghdad airport in 2020.

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