Israel launched strikes against targets in Syria early on February 9. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) said it attacked missile batteries in Syria after an anti-aircraft missile was fired towards Israel. Israel says its airstrikes inside Syria are meant to target the Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah. Israel’s close relations with Russia and Putin are often seen as linked to the two countries’ close military coordination in Syria. However, Russia also considers Syrian President Bashar Assad as an important partner as it seeks to gain a strategic foothold in the Middle East.