Skip to main content

US secretly reviews Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, says report

Israeli operations in Syria vetted by Centcom and Pentagon officials to ensure they do not disrupt US-led coalition operations against the Islamic State group, according to Wall Street Journal
An Israeli air force F-15 fighter takes off during a multinational air defence exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on 24 October 2021.
An Israeli F-15 fighter jet takes off during exercises at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on 24 October 2021 (AFP/File photo)

The United States has reviewed in advance several of the air strikes Israel carried out against Iranian targets in Syria, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing current and former officials.

While Israel and Russia coordinate Israeli operations in Syria through a deconfliction mechanism, the US has largely kept silent about any coordination it has with Israel, the newspaper reported on Thursday.

According to the Journal, many of Israel's operations in Syria were vetted in advance to receive approval from senior US Central Command (Centcom) and Pentagon officials.

Covert coordination with the US is carried out to ensure that Israeli air strikes do not disrupt US-led coalition operations against the Islamic State group.

Current and former US officials told the Journal that the US only reviews air strikes that Israel wishes to carry out from the coalition's al-Tanf base in southeast Syria.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Syria: Israel's Damascus airport strike paralyses travel and heralds new phase of conflict
Read More »

While many Israeli strikes are carried out from other locations, Israel has occasionally carried out strikes close to the base in recent years to circumvent Syrian air defences, according to the report.

The secret coordination mechanism asks Israel to provide details of planned missions to Centcom in advance, with the command then conducting a review and briefing the US secretary of defence and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who perform their own assessments.

However, Israel has never claimed responsibility for the strikes carried out in Syria.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Israel has conducted hundreds of air strikes across Syria and targeted pro-government troops and Iran-backed forces, including Lebanon's Hezbollah. 

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes but has acknowledged conducting hundreds of strikes and defended them as necessary to stop Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria. 

On 10 June, Israeli air strikes targeted Damascus airport, leaving three huge craters in each of its two operational runways.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova blamed Israel for the attack and called on it "to stop this vicious practice".

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.