On 20 January 2024, an Israeli airstrike in Damascus killed five Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members. Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel on 7 October 2023 escalated tensions between Israel, the US, and Iran in Syria. Iran-backed groups have since launched dozens of rocket and drone attacks against US forces deployed in the country, the most recent being a rocket attack in eastern Syria on 27 January. Within the next 12 months, actors in their region will try to balance their ambitions without escalating into open conflict.
Key Judgement 1. Israel is highly likely to strike Iranian-linked targets for at least as long as the war in Gaza goes on.
Key Judgement 2. The government of Bashar al-Assad and its backer Iran will almost certainly avoid an open conflict with Israel on the Syrian front.
Key Judgement 3. US troops will highly likely remain in Syria until the next presidential election, despite Iranian and Turkish pressure.