• MECRA

Timeline of Israel-Iran tensions in Syria and the region

Updated: Mar 13, 2020


Growing tensions between Israel and Iran, particularly in Syria, have led to rocket fire from Syria directed at Israel and numerous airstrikes by Israel on Iranian targets in Syria. This timeline is designed to provide background and details on Iran-Israel tensions in Syria.


March 17, 2017

An SA-5 missile with a 200kg warhead is fired from Homs at Israeli F-15s after Israeli airstrikes, it is intercepted by Israel’s Arrow 3 defense system over Jordan.


August 17, 2017

Israel former air force chief Amir Eshel says Israel struck more than 100 targets in five years in Syria.


September 12, 2017

During tour of border with Israel, Hezbollah members, Qais al-Khazali, who was banned from Lebanon, says his group Asaib Ahl al-Haq is ready 'to stand with the Lebanese people and the Palestinian cause against the unjust Israel


September 15

Israel demanded 60km Buffer but Russia let Iranian forces in Syria approach the border - Haaretz


10 November 2017

The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus.


15 November

'We retain absolute freedom of action,' Avigdor Lieberman says at northern border one day after Russian defense minister called Iran's presence 'legitimate', says Israel won't allow Iran to maintain presence


December 9, 2019

Saad Hariri condemns Khazali's visit to Lebanon


2018


February 10, 2018

Iranian drone enters Israel airspace near Beit Shean and is downed by an Apache helicopter, it was armed, an April report will show.


February 14, 2018

Akram al-Kaabi, the head of Harakat al-Nujaba, made the remarks to reporters in southern Beirut after visiting the tomb of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh,


February 28

"Iran has further entrenched its presence in Syria with the establishment of a second permanent military base outside Damascus, according to satellite images of the site."


April 9

A 3rd Khordad system is delivered from Iran to Syria to the T-4 base. An airstrike destroys it.


April 16

Israel girds for Iranian response. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stressed on Monday military preparedness and security will need to be bolstered, taking the cue from Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi who threatened just hours prior that Israel will regret the "misdeed" of striking at the T-4 Airbase in Syria—an attack which claimed the lives of seven Iranian soldiers.


May 10

Up to 30 rockets are fired by Iran toward Israel from Syria, Israel strikes up to 50 targets with planes and artillery.


May 28

Russia is considering trying to keep Iranian forces and their allies from Israel's ... According to the report, Russia decided to work on a deal to remove the forces.


June 18

Airstrike hits Kataib Hezbollah HQ near Albukamal


July 8

Syria accuses Israel of striking the T-4 or Tiyas base.


July 23, 2018

Israel uses David’s Sling air defense for first time against two OTR-21 Tochka missiles. The missiles fall short and one David’s Sling interceptor self-destructs, the other falls in Syria.


August 31, 2018

Iran moves short-range ballistic missiles to Iraq


September 3

Israel says it has struck Iranian targets 200 times in Syria


September 17

Israeli airstrikes in Latakia lead Syria to use an S-200 that hits a Russian airplane.


October 5

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, the defense minister addresses the Iranian attack on bases in the Golan Heights on Wednesday night and Israel's response; 'They must understand that if it rains here, it will pour there,' he warns. Syas Israel hit almost entire Iranian infrastructure.


October 26

Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad fires rockets at Israel


October 29

Israel Minister Miri Regev travels to UAE


November

Katz attends international transport conference in Oman


December 22

'Russia and Iran poised to exploit US withdrawal,' context map of role of Iran-backed militias in Syria, December 22, 2018


December 27

Israeli says its airstrikes hit targets transferring weapons from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria


December 31

Departure of US Defense Secretary Mattis. Mattis had cautioned against Israeli airstrikes in Iraq according to sources.


2019


January 11, 2019

Gadi Eizenkot says Israel has struck more than 1,000 Iranian targets in Syria.


January 20, 2019

Iranian IRGC Quds Force operatives fire a rocket at Israel, it is intercepted by Iron Dome. Israel strikes targets in Syria on January 21.


February 24

Netanyahu says Iran is lying when it says Israeli strikes have no affect, but says Iran has achieved 90 percent of its goals in Syria.


March 5

US sanctions Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba.


May

Iraqi forces say they thwarted an attempt to fire at Camp Taji, Iraq


May 3

Islamic Jihad Ziyad Nakhalah threatens ceasefire, says it can target Israeli cities


IRGC Aerospace commander tells Iraq that Iran is ready to transfer experience to Iraq.


May 7

Pompeo flies to Baghdad to warn of Iranian threats


May 12

On 12 May 2019, four commercial ships were damaged off Fujairah's coast in the Gulf of Oman.


Security alert issued in Iraq for US citizens.


Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba has been demanding that U.S. troops leave Iraq for quite some time. On May 12, Nujaba’s leaders proclaimed, "Confrontation with the United States will only stop once it is eliminated from the region, along with the Zionist entity.”


May 14

Rocket attack from Iraq targets Saudi Arabia's Al-Duadmi oil facilities. It may have been fired by Kataib Hezbollah.


May 19

Rocket lands near Green Zone.


May 20

Daily Beast reports Kataib Hezbollah behind rocket attack near Green Zone.


June 5

Iran condemns Bahrain meeting of US "peace plan" as "betrayal"


June 13

Two tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman


June 16

Mortars land near Balad air force base


June 17

Rockets land near Camp Taji, Iraq


June 20

Iran shoots down Global Hawk drone


June 25

Bahrain hosts US economic peace summit. Israel attends.


Bahrain embassy attacked in Baghdad.


US carries out cyber attack on Kataib Hezbollah.


June 30

Israel FM attends climate conference in Abu Dhabi, "This is the first visit of a senior Israeli government minister to an Arab country since the Bahrain Conference.​"


July 9

Netanyahu warns Iran F-35s can reach anywhere


July 18

Israel Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Bahrain's Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa meet in Washington.


July 19

Unidentified projectiles, allegedly from drones, strike near Amerli Iraq against PMU target


July 30

PMU reports a drone attack on a munitions warehouse at Camp Asraf in Diyala, Iraq.


August 12

Camp Falcon in Iraq, site of a PMU base, is hit with an airstrike, satellite images on August 14 show the area after the attack.


August 14

Image Sat International releases photos of the Camp Falcon (Saqr) site "An airstrike was likely behind the explosions in a weapons depot belonging to an Iranian-backed Shiite militia south of Baghdad on Monday, an assessment by ImageSat International (ISI) found on Wednesday."


August 20

PMU base near Balad Air Force Base reports it was struck by an unidentified drone.


Netanyahu in Ukraine hints that Israel has struck in Iraq: “We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary,” he warned.


August 21

PMU deputy Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis blames Israel for attacks on PMU in Iraq


August 22

Israel alleges a ‘killer drone’ team attempted to launch drones near the Golan but was interdicted.


August 24

Israel strikes a ‘killer drone’ team of Hezbollah in Syria south of Damascus. Hezbollah says they recovered an Israeli drone in Beirut. Israel says that “thanks to a substantial intelligence effort, an Iranian attack was thwarted and harm to Israel was prevented. Iran's proxies attempted in the past few days to launch killer drones at Israeli territory. An intelligence effort exposed the preparations of the force lead by Soleimani, in an Iranian structure near Damascus and made possible the thwarting of the attack. The Quds Force is continuing its efforts to destabilize the region. We are continuing our effort to stop the Quds Force’s attempts to harm Israel and her citizens.”


August 26

Israel releases details on Hezbollah operatives of the ‘killer drones’ working with Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Syria.


August 29

Israel accuses Iran’s Quds Force of seeking to advance Hezbollah’s rocket conversion program and precision guidance.


August 31

Barak Ravid: "Israel knows about the Iranian effort to transfer ballistic missiles to Shiite militias in Iraq for several weeks and is following it closely, Israeli officials tell me...Israel thinks Iran has started transferring ballistic missiles to Iraq due to Israeli airstrikes on Iranian bases in Syria and the growing difficulties to operate there freely, Officials tell me."


September 1

Hezbollah fires three anti-tank missiles at Israel near Avivim army base.


September 9

Airstrikes on the Imam Ali base near Albukamal destroy several warehouses. ImageSat International releases images of the attack. A number of rockets are fired from Syria towards Israel by Shi’ite militias operating with the IRGC, the rockets fall short.


September 12

IRGC Aerospace commander Hajizadeh: Iran stands Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen against America


September 14

25 drones and 9 cruise missiles attack Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.


September 21

ImageSat International images show construction ongoing at the Imam Ali base near Albukamal.


September 24

Israel FM Katz meets unnamed Arab counterpart in New York


September 30

Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi blames Israel for attacks on PMU. "Iraq's premier has said for the first time that his government had "indications" Israel was behind some attacks on paramilitary bases this summer, but stopped short of making an explicit accusation."


Iranian IRGC chief Salami says destroying Israel is an achievable goal.


October 1, 2019

Al Qaim Border crossing between Iraq-Syria is opened.

Protests erupt across Baghdad and southern Iraq, 100 killed in a week.


October 6

Israel FM pushes non-aggression pact with Arab states


October 20

Pompeo says supports Israel's right to act in Syria


October 21

Israel representative attends maritime security conference in Bahrain.


October 24

Israel Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi warns of fragile situation in north and south, and discusses Iranian strategic challenge.


Iran accuses Israel of secret meeting with Bahrain.


October 25, 2019

Protests erupt across Baghdad and southern Iraq, over 300 will eventually be killed


October 26

Qais Khazali vows revenge after commander of Asaib Ahl al-Haq killed in Missan. "At the funeral procession of Alyawi and his brother Issam, apparently killed in the same incident.

'His blood is on America and Israel's hands, but I will take revenge -- many times over,' Khazaali told mourners, holding back tears as he stood next to their wailing mother.


October 27

Israel blamed for deaths in Iraq. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, also appealed to the public to “confront the ongoing sedition,” which aims to undermine the government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Press TV reports.


October 28, 2019

Netanyahu says that Iran is seeking ways to attack Israel from Yemen


Rockets hit near Camp Taji, home to US soldiers and New Zealand troops


October 30

Rocket hits near US embassy


November 2-6

Chinese media report that a David Sling interceptor that was fired in July 2018 had fallen into hands of the Syrian regime and then Russia.


November 4

Blue Flag exercise takes place with F-35s


November 11

US CENTCOM chief Kenneth McKenzie visits Israel


November 12, 2019

Syrian media reports airstrike near Mezzeh in Damascus targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Akram al-Ajouri. The same day Israel strikes senior PIJ commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata in Gaza, setting off two days of fighting and 450 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza. It is later revealed that on "Nov. 12 on the home of Islamic Jihad's deputy leader Akram al-Ajouri in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus. Al-Ajouri himself was left unscathed while his son and another person reportedly were killed and another 10 people were wounded.

According to the Syrian news agency on the day of the attack: 'At 4:14am, Israeli fighter jets arrived over the Galilee and fired three missiles at Damascus.'"


November 16

US Air Force head David Goldfein visits Israel.


November 18, 2019

ImageSat International released photos of Iran’s Imam Ali base near Albukamal in Syria saying it is still under construction. Images are from November 17.


November 16

Protests erupt across Iran due to fuel prices. Iran shuts down internet for 113 hours, and continues crackdown through November 26 when more than 140 will have been killed.


November 17

Iran FM Zarif calls Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nakhala to congratulate him on war with Israel


November 18

According to the Russian Foreign ministry, "(Israeli) fighter jets reportedly crossed Iraqi and Jordanian airspace [and attacked near Albukamal]."


November 19

Sirens sound in several Golan communities in the northern Golan at 4:52am. SANA reports explosions in Damascus at 5am near an airport and that Syrian air defense has confronted air-to-surface missiles. At 5:31am the Israeli IDF says four launches were detected and intercepted. "According to Russia, Israeli missiles struck targets 18km south of the Syrian capital and explosions were heard in the area of Damascus airport."


US Lead Inspector General Report: "USCENTCOM assessed that Iranian backed forces in Syria might look to target U.S. military personnel or its partner forces in Syria, if they view the U.S. as complicit in Israeli strikes on its forces in Syria....CJTF-OIR and the DoS reported that the air restrictions hurt the Coalition’s ability to counter the ISIS threat in Iraq, specifically reducing observation and monitoring by ISR assets."


On Iraq the Lead Inspector General report says "According to media reports, suspected Israeli airstrikes on Iranian-aligned militia bases in Iraq in July and August elicited a rebuke from Iraqi parliamentarians and resulted in Iraqi government-imposed air restrictions on all foreign aircraft flying over Iraqi airspace, including Coalition aircraft."


Israeli airstrikes on November 20, 2019 (IDF released map))

November 20

Israel says it struck "dozens of military targets of the Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian Armed Forces, including surface-to-air missiles, headquarters, weapons warehouses and military bases," in response to the November 19 rocket fire. "During the IDF strike, a Syrian air defense missile was fired, despite clear warnings to refrain from such fire. Consequently, a number of Syrian aerial defense batteries were destroyed. Yesterday’s Iranian attack towards Israel is further clear proof of the purpose of the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, which threatens Israeli security, regional stability and the Syrian regime." SANA in Damascus shows photos of residential buildings damaged. Russia says "the Israel Air Force fired some 40 cruise missiles at targets in the Damascus suburbs."


November 21

Russia reveals information about four alleged IDF attacks in the past 10 days, "even saying it used Jordanian airspace to carry out one of them."


November 23

Increased clashes between pro-Hezbollah, pro-Amal supporters and protesters in Beirut.


France Defense Minister in Manama and Abu Dhabi warns of US disengagement from region and lack of response to Abqaiq attack.


November 24


"Iran's aggression in our region, and against us, continues," Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a base in the Golan. He was speaking on the same day US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in the country to meet IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.


November 25

Reuters article describes September 14 Iran attack on Saudi Arabia, "These people said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the operation, but with strict conditions: Iranian forces must avoid hitting any civilians or Americans."


Iran's IRGC commander Salami threatens Israel.


Erdogan in Qatar to discuss new base while S-400's test radar in Turkey against F-16s.


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks on Monday in Riyadh with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.


Netanyahu warns of more attacks by Iran.


Iran has the ability to strike Israel and would probably use long-range ballistic missiles if it were to carry out an attack, US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said on Saturday, adding he did not have any particular knowledge of an Iranian plan to attack.


November 26


Iran's Foreign Minister speaks with Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah, claim reports at Palestine Today and Tasnim.


November 27


Chairman of Joint Chiefs Milley on multi-day visit to Israel, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to show US is committed to region.


November 29


New Defense Minister Naftali Bennett seeks wider campaign in Syria, forcing Iran to give up its role there.


December 1


Naftali Bennet "pushed for widespread attack in Syria 10 days ago (in response to rocket fire) against recommendation of top IDF brass, Netanyahu backed him up. Army Radio's military correspondent reports."


Iran IRGC member Esmaeil Kousari (Kowsari) blames Israel for protests.


December 2


Oman Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi meets Javad Zarif.


December 3

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran seeks to work with Oman and puts forward Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) initiative, hints at new relations with Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia.


Iran seeks meeting in Japan.


Rockets land near Assad base Iraq. Kataib Hezbollah is also believed to be behind a 122 mm rocket attack on the al-Asad base on Dec. 3, a U.S. official told Military Times.


December 4

Israel media reports that US is pushing a non-aggression pact between Israel, Morocco, Bahrain, UAE and Oman


Iran announced joint naval drill with Russia and China, according to Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.


December 5


- Iranian base at Albukamal allegedly hit with airstrikes


- NYT: Iran moving missiles to Iraq


- ImageSat: Quds Force in Syria strike aftermath


- Hezbollah involved in negotiations for next Iraq PM


- Netanyahu: Israel actively countering Iranian aggression, meets Pompeo in Portugal


- US seizes Iranian missiles headed for Yemen (photos)


- "Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi says Tehran’s proposed plan for ensuring security in the Persian Gulf aims to reduce tensions in the strategic region." - Zarif: "Iran does not see any point in the continuation of the war and siege on Yemen, welcomes peaceful solutions and encourages all parties to move forward in this area and supports initiatives that call for dialogue."

- France, Germany and the United Kingdom said Wednesday that Iran's developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles go against a UN Security Council resolution calling on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles.


- Pentagon warns of possible Iranian aggression, "DOD considering sending thousands more troops to the Middle East to beef up air defense capabilities in face of Iranian moves including transfer of short-range missiles into Iraq: US officials. The most realistic option for now: 4,000 to 7,000." - Barbara Starr.


- Qassim Musleh, the deputy head of security at the Karbala shrines, said "Israel and America" were trying to create divisions among the Shiite community in Iraq.


- Rumors of an Iranian base in Qamishli


- Images of T4 base show Iran delivering anti-air missiles and cruise missiles according to report


- Projectiles reportedly fall near Balad Air base.


Netanyahu meets Pompeo in Portugal



Footage of the December 6 test


December 6