On Tuesday, a cartoon in Israel’s leading newspaper Yediot Acharonot showed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad standing next to a Russian officer as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin drives a giant truck with the S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield towards the ruthless Syrian dictator.
Although Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime have been functioning as allies in the Syrian war, they each have their own, partly differing, interests.
Russia announced earlier Monday that it would give Syria’s government more modern, S-300 missile defense systems after last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syria in a friendly fire incident.
Fifteen Russian military personnel were killed when the reconnaissance aeroplane was downed on 17 September.
Moscow’s aim is “to avoid open confrontation between Iran and Israel in [Syria]”, Ontikov explained, adding that unfortunately Israel continues “ongoing strikes” on Iranian positions in Syria.
“In addition, three years after entering Syria, Russia wants to finish things and leave”.
As was reported by Israel Today the behavior of the Kremlin suggests the Russians were just waiting for an excuse to arm Syria with the S-300 state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missile shield.
Analysts say Moscow’s announcement is a “dangerous development” in the region, as the missile system would challenge the Israeli air power capacity.
Israel regularly carries out strikes in Syria against Assad’s government, its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Iranian targets. “Israel has been preparing for this threat for 20 years and will know how to handle it”. Moscow claims the Russian plane was hit because Israeli pilots were using it as “cover”.
It seems that these measures are the most serious measures Russian Federation has taken against Israel since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The destruction of an Il-20M radio-electronic surveillance aircraft with 15 crew members in the late evening of September 17 was not the worst tragedy in the records of the three years long Russian military intervention in Syria but it is perhaps the most hard one to explain away.
Hence the unbridled assault of the Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman and the telling story of the Israelis who used the Russian spy plane as bait and thus were to blame for its plummeting from the sky.
Russian plans with regard to the S-300, which the U.S. also opposes, will be an important part of that conversation.
He said Washington was coordinating with Russian Federation at all political and military levels.
“It’s basically been a pressure tactic on Russia’s part”.
He said: “Please note that we suspended the delivery of the S-300 system to Syria in 2013 at the request of Israel”.
Peskov said the new measures were decided on to boost the security of its troops in Syria.
If this really is Moscow’s intention then the Israelis are going to have to tread carefully.
Meanwhile, he added, “The Security Cabinet has instructed the IDF to continue to take action against attempts by Iran to establish a military presence in Syria while continuing the security coordination with Russian Federation”.
When asked whether the death of 15 Russian soldiers played a role in Moscow’s decision, Abboud said the casualties were an “opportunity to impose the limit”.
Israel has rejected this analysis, saying its jets had already returned to Israeli airspace before the missile was sacked.
With the new missile system, the government can at least ensure Damascus’ safety from incoming attacks, Abboud noted.