Russian forces in Syria fire at Israeli fighter jets
S-300 missiles were fired for the first time in response to an Israeli attack that killed five causing damage. So far this year, Israel has carried out 12 operations in Syria, on top of scores more in previous years. Analysts link Russia’s response to Israeli criticism of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Russia and Israel came close to blows in the skies over Syria. A few days ago, Russian forces fired at Israeli jets, but the incident was reported only in the past few hours.
This could signal a change in Russia’s attitude towards Israel. For years, Moscow tolerated Israeli operations in Syria against Hezbollah and pro-Iranian targets.
Hitherto, Russia never reacted to Israeli air strikes; however, Israel’s criticism of its “special operation” in Ukraine after its initial mediation attempts may have led to a change of course and prompted the Russians to respond in kind on the ground.
On Saturday, Russian batteries in north-western Syria fired advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles during a sortie by Israeli planes.
For analysts, the unprecedented response could be much more than a warning, and might signal a shift in Moscow's attitude towards Israel and which will raise special concern.
Israeli planes were attacking a number of targets near Masyaf. The attack, the 12th in Syrian territory since the start of the year, left five people died, including a civilian, and several fields in the area set on fire.
This time Russian forces, which were crucial in bolstering President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, fired back.
The response, which did not hit or damage any Israeli plane, was highly symbolic since missiles cannot be launched without higher level authorisation.
An anonymous military source, unauthorised to speak to the media, said that the missiles were fired as a form of retaliation against Israel for its support for Ukraine.
The net result is that Moscow will constrain Israel’s ability to operate in Syria.