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Syria front on edge as Israel targets airports, US hits Iran-linked groups

Israel's continued airstrikes targeting Damascus and Aleppo airports arise from the threat Israel feels following attacks from within Syria on border areas led by Iranian-backed groups.
Israeli military tanks take up a position during a drill in the annexed Golan Heights, amid increasing cross-border tensions between Hezbollah and Israel as fighting continues in the south with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 9, 2023.

DAMASCUS — Amid the relentless monthlong bombardment of the Gaza Strip, focus on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts with Israel has taken a backseat. But bouts of irregular fighting and isolated missile strikes obscure a deeper, "shadow war" that is threatening to boil over.

On Israel’s eastern front, Syria — so often a predictable target for Israeli airstrikes — has seen a marked intensification in fighting both on the border and around US bases. The US military has carried out three rounds of airstrikes in Syria since the war in Gaza started, targeting Iran-linked proxies in response to drone attacks on its forces. 

The Israelis — for an unprecedented fourth time in a month — have taken Damascus and Aleppo international airports out of service with heavy air raids.

Since the Hamas attack on Israel Oct. 7, Syrian airports have been under constant barrage, leading to near paralysis of the country's entire aviation industry as a result of direct and serious bombings of the runways on multiple occasions.

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