Syria's Homs Province

Iran has responded by scaling back its forces in Syria to avoid airstrikes.

By Shula Rosen

Before October 7th, a targeted killing of a Quds leader in Syria was a red line that would have put Israel at risk of full-scale war.

However, officials say that Israel is now willing to “change the rules of the game” dealing with Iranian proxies in many parts of the world, including Syria.

On Sunday, airstrikes hit and killed two Hezbollah members traveling on the border between Lebanon and Syria.

In addition, two Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members were killed in a residential building in Damascus.

Since December, more than half a dozen IRGC leaders died in targeted killings in Syria, including Iranian Brig. Gen. Seyed Razi Mousavi.

Although Israel doesn’t take responsibility for these killings, the IDF does speak vaguely carrying out operations against terror targets in the region.

“[Israeli airstrikes in Syria] are no longer just about attacking weapons transfer or attacking Damascus international airport,” said Carmit Valensi, a senior researcher on Syria and head of the northern arena program at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

“It seems that Israel is taking advantage of the war momentum to increase its activity against Iran in Syria,” said Valensi.

She continued, “In wartime, we have a different set of rules, by which Israel has more freedom of operation.”

Valensi explained, “Iran and Hezbollah have very limited ability to respond when it comes to the Syria theater.”

Although the Iranian presence in Syria was initially intended to bolster the Assad regime, the forces have shifted their goals to “free Jerusalem,” in other words, to attack Israel.

“The intense attacks that Israel has been conducting lately are a positive development for Israel because they do influence the Iran modus operandi in Syria,” Valensi said.

Iran has responded by scaling back its forces in Syria to avoid airstrikes, which demonstrates that the strikes are achieving their purpose.