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ISRAELI STRIKES TARGETED HEZBOLLAH MISSILE DEPOTS IN THE ALEPPO SUBURBS AND ISRAEL FORCES LEFT AL SHIFA HOSPITAL AFTER THEY RAIDED AND DETAINED HUNDREDS OF SUSPECTED PALESTINIANS MILITANTS

March 28-April 3, 2024 | Issue 13 - CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team

Flavie Curinier, Giorgia Cito, Kyle Dillon, Seda Gunes

Brantley Williams, Jessica Wilson, Editor; Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor


Depots in Northern Aleppo, Syria[1]


Date: March 29, 2024

Location: Aleppo Province, Syria

Parties involved: Israel; Israeli military; Iran; Syria; Syrian military; Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, Hezbollah; internally displaced persons (IDP)

The event: Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 44 people and wounded dozens including Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters. The strikes have targeted Hezbollah missile depots in the Aleppo suburb of Jibreen and also a military facility near Safira. No entity has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Israel has conducted numerous strikes on targets within Syria. Hezbollah has been entrenched within Syria since the outbreak of the 2011 civil war.[2]

Analysis & Implications:  

  • Israel will likely continue exploiting the ongoing civil war in Syria to conduct strikes against Iranian-backed groups and threaten Iran. The Syrian government likely has a limited capacity to retaliate, likely encouraging Israel to take advantage of this situation when considering the severity of attacks in Syria. Increased Israeli attacks in Syria will likely encourage Iran to strengthen its relationship with the Syrian government and reevaluate strategies for building up its proxy forces near Israel’s border.

  • Israel likely conducted this attack to eliminate Hezbollah's threat and assure its rivals, like Iran, that its capacities are not specifically directed to Gaza. Israel’s attacks will likely influence the strategic retaliation of Hezbollah, likely expanding Hezbollah’s operational capacity in Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah’s retaliation will almost certainly result in a cycle of violence between Israel and Iranian-backed proxies.

  • An increase in Israeli airstrikes in Syria will likely lead to significant humanitarian issues, very likely deteriorating the living conditions of the population. The humanitarian concerns will very likely prompt a surge in immediate medical needs due to increased casualties among combatants and civilians. The airstrikes will very likely result in the destruction of infrastructure, very likely disrupting access to critical services, such as electricity and clean water, and hindering aid delivery. The lack of essential needs will very likely cause internal displacement, almost certainly overcrowding underserved refugee camps with IDPs.


Date: April 1, 2024

Location: Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine

Parties involved: Israel government; Israel Defense Forces (IDF); Israeli military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari; Palestinian officials; Palestinian civilians; Palestinian militants; Palestinian Sunni Islamist political and military movements, Hamas; Palestinian hospital staff; director of the Hamas-run Gaza media office, Ismail Al-Thawabta; Rafah; UN

The eventIsraeli forces abandoned Al Shifa Hospital after they raided and detained hundreds of suspected Palestinian militants for two weeks. Palestinian officials describe the raid on the hospital as a war crime, while Israeli officials justify the raid as an operation aimed at a Hamas defense. Al-Thawabta stated the IDF had killed 400 Palestinians near Al Shifa Hospital with unarmed personnel inside. Hagari reports that Israeli forces harmed no Palestinian civilians, patients, or medical personnel. He states that the operation resulted in the death of 200 Palestinian militants, two IDF members, and the arrests of more than 900 suspected militants, 500 of them identified as Hamas or Islamic Jihad members, including senior commanders and officials.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The UN will very likely launch an investigation to validate the plausibility of the hospital attack, likely gaining traction if it is determined that civilians were killed. The UN will likely strive to remain impartial, almost certainly recognizing the urgency to accurately determine the war crimes allegations, and identify those responsible. The UN will likely create an independent investigation body to make recommendations for the future, almost certainly to protect civilians.

  • Hamas will likely condemn Israeli operations targeting civilian infrastructure as violations of international law, very likely calling for international intervention. The Palestinians in Gaza will likely capitalize on these events to rally support, likely as a defense against Israeli aggression and emphasizing the need for resistance. International pressure will likely mount on Israel to justify its actions and mitigate civilian harm, very likely leading to diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation.

  • The end of the operations in Al Shifa Hospital will likely shift the Israeli government’s focus to assaults in Rafah. This shift will almost certainly extricate military, financial, and resources, which the Israeli government will likely reallocate in a more concentrated effort in Rafah. The allocation of resources in Rafah will very likely allow for quicker deployment and robust operations.

 

[1] Depots in Northern Aleppo, Syria, generated by a third party image Database (created by AI)

[2] Syria reports Israeli airstrikes near the city of Aleppo. A war monitor says 44 people are dead, AP, March 2024,

[3] Israeli troops exit Gaza's Shifa Hospital, leaving rubble and bodies, Reuters, April 2024, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-troops-leave-gazas-al-shifa-hospital-after-two-week-sweep-2024-04-01/

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