Israel and Syria have never been friends, but the two countries settled on a tense but mostly peaceful modus vivendi since their last face-to-face confrontation in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Despite their continuing enmity, the Israeli-Syrian border became one of relatively predictable calm. That has been true for decades, even if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad actively sided with Israel’s most committed foes, helping the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.
In the past few years, however, the region’s strategic landscape has changed drastically, particularly with regard to Syria’s ongoing civil war. For Israel, that has introduced an extremely complicated security dilemma.
Officially, Israel has no position on the Syrian war, other than to affirm that it “will not allow Iran and Hezbollah to build a terror infrastructure on [Israel’s] border with Syria.”