Russia Takes Aim at Israeli Airstrikes in Syria

With new US administration less supportive of Israelis strikes, Russia has freer hand to repulse them

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Syria, Russia
Will new rules of engagement put Israel and Russia on a collision course?
Will new rules of engagement put Israel and Russia on a collision course? Photo: Ofer Zidon/Flash90

Russia is fed up with continued Israeli airstrikes against Iranian and allied targets in Syria, and believes it now has something of a “green light” from Washington to repulse them. That according to a weekend report by London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

The newspaper cited senior Russian officials who said Moscow has “run out of patience” with the Israelis, who have carried out dozens, if not hundreds of pinpoint strikes against Iranian installations and arms shipments to its proxies in war-torn Syria.

Israel views Iran’s military buildup in Syria as a major strategic, if not existential threat. But Russia is allied with Iran in trying to bolster the Syrian regime, and sees the Israeli airstrikes as disruptive to its own efforts.

Former US President Donald Trump was overtly supportive of Israel’s military actions, which served as something of a deterrent resulting in Moscow turning a blind eye to the airstrikes.

But the “well-informed” Russian source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat said that the Biden Administration “does not welcome the continuous Israeli raids,” and as such Russia now feels more free to thwart the Israelis.

According to the report, Russia has already begun to significantly upgrade Syria’s air defenses. Vadim Kulit of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria told the Russian news agency TASS last week that those new defenses had already managed to intercept seven of eight Israeli missiles fired at a target in northern Syria.

“On July 19, four F-16 fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force entered Syria’s airspace via the US-controlled al-Tanf zone and fired eight guided missiles at facilities southeast of the city of Aleppo,” he said. “One missile damaged the building of a research center in the settlement of Safira in the Aleppo governate”

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