A suspected Israeli missile assault on a Syrian airbase in Homs province was a "historic mistake", the leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah has said in a televised speech. Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, that Israel has placed itself in direct combat with Iran, referring to missile attacks that targeted military sites in Syria on April 9. Two Israeli warplanes, using Lebanese airspace, fired eight missiles at the T-4 military airbase, according to the Russian military. The attack at the airbase, located 40km west of Palmyra, killed about 14 people, at least four of whom were Iranians from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps - a separate force from Iran's army that answers only to the country's supreme leader. Nasrallah described the attack as unprecedented in the region - something that could not be overlooked. The missile strike followed a suspected chemical attack targeting Douma, a former rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that saw a two-month offensive by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.
A confusing set of clashes and counter-clashes between Israel, Syria, and Iranian military forces on Saturday could very well mark the start of a new and dangerous tensions in the region as Syria's civil war continues to drag on. Israel had managed to keep the war across the border at arm's length but that seemed to change Saturday in what some analysts characterized as an illustration of a confident Bashar al-Assad in Syria who seems headed to victory in the nearly seven-year conflict. That, in turn, appears to have emboldened Iran as it seeks to establish a military presence along Israel's border with Syria, which Israel has long said it won't accept.