1 Chronicles 19:18

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"But the Syrians fled before Israel...."

Wars Between Israel and Syria : From 1948 to the Present

Israeli FlagSyrian Flag

As of April, 2010, tensions between Syria and Israel were rising, with Israel accusing Syria of transferring powerful Scud missiles to the Hezbollah Islamist militia in Lebanon. The possible ramifications of this development could lead to a new Israel-Syria war. Below are the wars fought between Israel and Syria from the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence to the rising tensions of today.

Israeli War of Independence/ "al-Nakba" (The Disaster) (1948-1949)--Upon independence, Israel was invaded by the armies of six Arab nations: Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In addition, local Arab Palestinian forces also fought the Jewish Israelis. Israel held off the Arab forces and established itself as an independent nation. From the start of this war, Syria and Israel have been engaged in one continuous legal state of war. While technically at war this whole time, in reality, their conflict has been punctuated by several major (though short), wars and numerous cross-border attacks and air battles.

Israeli-Syrian Border and Air Battle (Nov. 13, 1964)—Israel and Syria both claimed sovereignty over several Demilitarized Zones along their border.  These Zones were set up as part of the cease-fire ending the First Arab-Israeli War.  Israel attempted to farm the land in these Zones, while Syria developed a project to divert water from the Jordan River, which Israel shared with both Syria and Jordan.  Syrian forces often fired on Israeli tractors attempting to farm the Zones, while Israel looked for ways to interrupt the Syrian diversion project.  On Nov. 13, 1964, Syrian forces stationed on the top of the Golan Heights, a plateau overlooking Israeli territory in the Jordan River valley, fired on Israeli tractors.  Israeli forces returned fire.  Syrian artillery then targeted Israeli civilian villages.  Israel responded with air attacks on Syrian forces.  This battle resulted in 4 Israeli dead and 9 wounded.  Syrian losses included two tanks and machines involved in the diversion project. One result of this clash was Syria’s accelerated acquisition of more and better Soviet-made fighter planes. (Oren, 2001). 
Israeli-Syrian Border Battles (Summer, 1966)—Continued artillery and tank duels along the Golan Heights front led to :
Israeli-Syrian Air Battle (July 7, 1966)—Responding to the continued fighting along the border, Israeli planes attacked Syrian forces, resulting in the loss of one Syrian MiG fighter plane.
Israeli-Syrian Air/Sea Battle (Aug. 15, 1966)—After an Israeli patrol boat ran aground on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (according to the 1949 cease-fire agreement, Israeli forces were not supposed to approach within 250 meters of the eastern shore, which was a Demilitarized Zone), Syrian planes attacked it.  Israel responded, shooting down two MiG planes.

The Six-Day War (1967)--In a rapid pre-emptive attack, Israel crushed the military forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria and seized large amounts of land from each. Iraq also participated in the fighting on the Arab side.

The Yom Kippur (Ramadan) War (1973)--In a surprise attack launched on the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday (the dates also fell on the Muslim Ramadan holiday), Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. Despite aid from Iraq, the Arab forces failed to defeat Israel.

The Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (1982-1984)--In response to repeated guerrilla attacks by the PLO, which were launched from South Lebanon, Israel invaded with the intent of destroying Arafat's forces. Syria, which maintained a large army in Lebanon, fought Israel and suffered an embarrassing defeat. See The Israeli-Lebanon Conflict (1978-Present). Israeli Air Strike on Syria (October, 2003)-- Israeli warplanes hit the Syrian village of Ain al-Saheb, near Damascus.
Israeli Air Strike on Syria (Sept. 6, 2007)—Israeli warplanes overflew northern Syria, dropping ordnance on a (publicly) unknown target. According to both the New York Times and ABC News, the target was a nuclear facility being built with North Korean aid and assistance. See War and Conflict Journal's article on this attack.

 As of April, 2010, tensions between Syria and Israel were rising, with Israeli sources indicating that Syria was transferring powerful Scud missiles to the Hezbollah Islamist militia in Lebanon. See an interesting article about the possible ramifications of this development toward a possible new Israel-Syria war at Plotting the Next Mideast War
Nakba Day Border Incidents-on May 15 and June 5, 2011, Palestinian demonstrators demostrated on the Syrian-Israeli border, and attempted to cross the border into Israel. Israeli security forces opened fire, killing several of the protestors. Syria claimed up to 23 were killed and hundreds wounded in the June 5 incident. Israel accused Syria of planning and instigating the incident to draw attention away from Syria's own internal uprising.


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