Radio Sputnik has discussed the development with Prof Efraim Inbar, President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.
Sputnik: Israel seldom admits to carrying out strikes inside Syria. Why has it broken the silence now?
Prof Efraim Inbar: I think that our military activity is dependent upon incoming intelligence. And when there is enough intelligence and accurate enough intelligence of arms transports, of establishing bases for acting against Israel, Israel tries to prevent it and it uses its Air Force to do so.
Sputnik: Now, you have already mentioned obviously the insurgence of Iranian forces. Obviously, there is a potential vacuum with the American forces removing themselves from the area, how avoidable is a large scale conflict at this point? Is it inevitable or will things return to some kind of semblance of order? What is your take on the current situation then?
And as a result of that, we try to limit as much as possible the military presence of Iranian forces or of the Shiite militias that are fighting in this part of the civil war. But the civil war is, of course, ending, so they are now primarily… they are there in order to establish bases against Israel along its northern border.
Sputnik: Notwithstanding what you have said we know that we have got a new IDF Chief of Staff in place now Aviv Kochavi. What can you tell us about Aviv in terms of his particular strategy on the situation in Israel and Syria?
Sputnik: Now we do seem to know that history shows that any government that shows a very determined strategy when it comes to enforcement militarily, seems to embolden the general electorate. What kind of effect is this strategy going to have in terms of this very important vote that is going to happen in April in Israel?
Sputnik: Now the airstrikes also come as the US is withdrawing their troops from Syria. How prepared is Israel now for any confrontation should that happen once that vacuum is created? From your previous questions, it looks as though that doesn't really have too much of an issue. What can you add to your further comment?
This is an American decision, of course. It is so far not being implemented quickly, so Israelis are spectators on this issue. We have other important issues to discuss with the Americans. And if President Trump decides to withdraw [his] forces from Syria, we are not going to oppose it or to make an issue of it in our good bilateral relations with Washington.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Prof Efraim Inbar and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.