05:09 GMT25 February 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The threat that outside military intervention will result in Syria breaking apart has increased after Israel's recent strike in the south of the country, combined with a continuing Turkish offensive against US-backed Kurdish forces in the north, the private intelligence firm Soufan Group said.

    "Syria is being pulled apart, not just internally but externally," the report said. "The February 10 raid suggests that Israel might become more active … Israel will certainly act to disrupt a semi-permanent Iranian military presence in southern Syria, along with the related but separate threat of Hezbollah."

    In the north, meanwhile, Turkey is fighting to destroy the armed Kurdish presence along the border, sharpening tensions between Ankara and Washington, which has supported the groups now being attacked by its fellow NATO member, the release said.

    The report noted that the war in Syria is escalating, not just between the Syrian government and its opponents but among external actors, decreasing the hopes for de-escalation.

    READ MORE: Johnson Urges Russia to Use Influence to Avoid Escalation on Israel-Syria Border

    Israeli Strikes

    The Israeli attack on several military targets in Syria took place on February 10. As Jonathan Conricus, the IDF's spokesman, specified, the strike was made in response to the downing of an Israeli Apache attack helicopter that was allegedly intercepted an Iranian drone infiltrating the disputed area of the Golan Heights.

    READ MORE: Alleged Video of Israeli Anti-Missile Systems Arriving at Syrian Border

    Israel launched a wave of revenge attacks against "additional Iranian targets in Syria" and the Syrian airborne defense array. The IDF said eight Israeli fighter jets had hit twelve targets in Syria, including three air-defense units and four Iranian military objects deployed in the country.

    Turkey Operation

    Since January 20 Turkey has been carrying out a military operation, with a code name "Olive Branch," against the Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin, an area controlled by the US-backed YPG, which is considered by Ankara to be affiliated with the Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK), regarded by Turkey as a terrorist group.

    However, Ankara had repeatedly underlined that their advance was aimed at clearing the Turkish border with Syria from the terrorist presence. In particular, from Kurdish formations in the region.

    READ MORE: Afrin Op: Turkish Military Helicopter Shot Down Near Syrian Border, Two Dead

    Damascus, in its turn, condemned the Olive Branch operation, saying that it was undermining the country's severeignity.

    Related:

    Iranian Presence in Syria Will Continue Amid Israeli Attacks - Khamenei Advisor
    Russian Contingent in Syria Has Potential to Deter Terrorism - Kremlin
    'Israelis Backed by US Determined to Limit Iran's Role in Syria' - Analyst
    Russia Is the One to Curb Israel-Iran-Syria Crisis, Not US – Netanyahu's Deputy
    Tags:
    military presence, conflict, Hezbollah, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Syria
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