"Iranian military operations in support of the Syrian government since 2011 have exacerbated long standing tensions between Iran and Israel. These tensions have worsened considerably since late 2016 as Iran has helped Syria's government regain key territory, and in turn has sought a more permanent military presence in Syria.Israeli officials have described the deployment of Iran-backed forces in Syria--particularly in the southwest, near Israel's northern border--as a significant security threat compelling Israel to act.In September 2018, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz stated, 'in the last two years Israel has taken military action more than 200 times within Syria itself.' During 2018, Israeli and Iranian forces have repeatedly targeted one another in and over Syrian-and Israeli-controlled areas.While Israel has conducted numerous air strikes inside Syria since 2012--mostly on targets linked to weapons shipments to Lebanese Hezbollah--the 2018 strikes appear for the first time to have directly targeted Iranian facilities and personnel in Syria."
CRS In Focus, IF10858
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/