IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi on Wednesday confirmed a report by the Saudi channel Al Hadath that Israel carried out 3 “sensitive” operations deep inside Syria (“الحدث” تكشف تنفيذ إسرائيل 3 عمليات “حساسة” في العمق السوري). Though Kochavi might have been hinting at operations inside Lebanon.
כחלק מאירועי ציון 25 שנה לאסון המסוקים, הרמטכ”ל כוכבי רמז בשיחה עם בני נוער על מבצע פשיטה שערך צה”ל בחודש האחרון מעבר לגבול במדינה סמוכה. הוא הגדיר את המשימה “ערכית”, שאושרה בדרגות הגבוהות ביותר. במבצע, כך לפי כוכבי, נלקחה האפשרות שלוחמים ייפגעו או ייפצעו מהאויב@ItayBlumental pic.twitter.com/xeHuMvs151
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) January 26, 2022
Speaking at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the February 4, 1997 helicopter disaster in which two Air Force transport helicopters ferrying soldiers in southern Lebanon collided in mid-air killing all 73 personnel on board, Kochavi said the operation in Syria was of high value and had been approved by the highest government echelon.
According to Kochavi, the designers of the operation took into account the possibility that Israeli fighters would be hit or injured by the enemy.
Al-Hadath reported on Wednesday, citing an Israeli security source, that IDF special forces carried out three operations deep inside Syrian territory since the beginning of 2022. The source added that “special forces are carrying out sensitive missions on Syrian soil. Operations deep inside Syria have not stopped.”
The 1997 disaster sparked renewed debate about Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. Later that year, the Four Mothers movement was founded. It was an anti-war protest movement that pressed for an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The helicopters disaster is viewed as the catalyst for Israel’s withdrawal from the security zone in Lebanon in 2000.