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Israel Launches Airstrikes Against Syria

Above photo: Syrian media reported Israeli airstrikes on Homs. SANA.

Blinken has failed to achieve most of the stated goals of his repeated visits to the region since October 7.

Including getting commitment from Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel.

Israel launched missile attacks on Homs and surrounding areas in Syria in the early morning of Wednesday, February 7 killing scores of civilians and destroying significant civilian infrastructure hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the country.

“At approximately 00:30 at dawn on Wednesday, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial attack with missiles from the direction of northern Tripoli” Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. Citing unnamed sources, SANA also said that some of the Israeli missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense.

According to Al-Mayadeen, at least four civilians were killed and seven others were wounded in the attacks. The number of casualties may increase as some of the buildings in Homs city collapsed due to the impact of the attack.

The attacks were completely unprovoked and came a day after Syria along with several other countries including Russia and China raised the issue of the violation of its sovereignty by the US, Israel’s closest ally, in the UN Security Council.

The attacks in Syria also coincide with the fifth visit of the Blinken to the region ever since the Israeli war on Gaza began on October 7. One of the stated purposes of Blinken’s repeated visits to the region has been to restrain any possibility of regional escalation of the war.

Despite its stated policy, US forces carried out attacks on Syria and Iraq on Friday February 2 which was considered the largest since the 2003 Iraq war. This has invited global condemnation with countries expressing apprehensions about its possible impact on global peace and security.

Israel has also repeatedly carried out attacks on the neighboring Lebanon and Syria since the beginning of its war on Gaza killing scores of civilians.

The Israeli war in Gaza has killed over 27,500 people including more than 10,000 children and wounded close to 67,000 others. It has also displaced most of the pre-war Gaza population.

Blinken went to Saudi Arabia on Monday and visited Cairo and Qatar on Tuesday. He is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Wednesday as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

It is already underlined that the US has failed to convince Israel to implement the UN Security Council resolution on the increased humanitarian assistance to Gaza adopted in December. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any possibility of a two-state solution despite US calls for it. Some of the top Israeli leadership have asked for building settlements inside Gaza going openly against the US declaration against any such plans.

Though Blinken’s visit is expected to give a formal shape to the proposed ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel, serious concerns have been raised about the fate of the deal. Israel started its air and ground offensive in Rafah also on Wednesday despite concerns of large scale civilian casualties because it is home to close to a million Palestinians who have been forced to flee their homes due to Israeli war.

Blinken also reiterated the US position of normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia during his visit to Riyadh on Monday. However, Saudi Arabia has maintained that it does not want to establish any formal relations with Israel until there is an independent Palestinian state.

“The kingdom has communicated its firm position to the US administration that there will be no diplomatic relationship with Israel until an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and that the Israeli aggression of Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, days after Blinken’s visit.

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