Late on June 22, Russian air defense units repelled a massive drone attack on Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in Syria. According to local sources, Russian Pantsir and Tor systems launched almost two dozen missiles at unmanned aerial vehicles launched by militants from the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syria’s state-run news agency SANA reported that Syrian air defenses were also activated in the Jableh area of Latakia province, where the Russian airbase is located.
Firefights between the Syrian Army and Turkish-led forces broke out near the village of Abu Rasin in the province of al-Hasakah. According to pro-government sources, the fighting erupted when Turkish-backed militants tried to set on fire crops being grown in nearby fields.
Earlier, the Damascus government accused pro-Turkish forces of intentionally burning crops in the area of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring and nearby areas in order to pressure farmers that do not want to pay bribes to pro-Turkish militants.
The Turkish Army and the Russian Military Police regularly conduct joint patrols along the contact line between Turkish-backed forces and the Syrian Army in northeastern Syria. This allows to prevent the sides from initiating large-scale offensive operations against each other. However, the situation on the ground remains tense.
On June 22, pro-government locals blocked a US military convoy near the village of Fares Kabir in the Syrian province of al-Hasakah. The protesters burned a US flag and forced the convoy to retreat from the area. Positions of the Syrian Army near Kafr Mus, Kawkabah and as-Safah in southern Idlib came under fire from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies early on June 23. Pro-militant sources claim that several army troops were either injured or killed.
On June 21, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement released a new video threatening Israel with a retaliation strike on its strategic facilities in the event of a new escalation.
“Today, we can not only hit the city of Tel Aviv but also, if God wills it and with His help, we can hit very precise targets within Tel Aviv and anywhere in occupied Palestine,” Nasrallah can be heard as saying during the video.
Israel is pretty sensitive towards such threats and uses them to justify the continuing military campaign against Iranian-backed forces.
In its own turn, Hezbollah often intensifies its propaganda efforts against Israel as the situation in the region is once again heading to a military confrontation or its leadership expects possible Israeli hostile actions that would impact its interests.