Jerusalem (Web Desk) Israel’s alleged new attacks against Syria after one that led to the downing of a Russian surveillance jet over the Arab country have plunged ties between Tel Aviv and Moscow to a new low, Israeli sources say.
In September, Israeli fighter jets attacking the Syrian government’s positions in Latakia used a Russian Il-76 plane flying over the area as shield and took cover behind it, a maneuver that misled the Syrian air defenses to shoot down the plane and kill all the 15 Russian officers aboard.
The incident prompted Moscow to speed up the delivery of its advanced S-300 air defense systems to Damascus, a game-changing development that forced Israeli commanders to rethink their plans for future airstrikes.
Earlier this week, however, an unnamed senior Israeli military official revealed to the media that while Tel Aviv had to work with Moscow to improve “deconfliction” of its missions, the airstrikes never stopped.
“The IDF have attacked in Syria, including after the downing of the Russian plane. Military coordination with the Russians continues as before,” said the source.
On Thursday, Israeli media reported that Russian officials were outraged by the new Israeli attacks and personal ties between Israeli minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu had been severed as a result.
The reports, citing more unnamed sources within the Israeli military, further noted that the Kremlin was also rejecting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to schedule a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the S-300 deployment.
Social media observers monitoring Israeli raids against Syria allege that the latest attack took place more than a month ago.
According to some experts, the Israeli attacks were aimed at testing the Russian response.
The reports stated that the recent attack was carried out in daylight, and the Russians were warned beforehand.
Apparently, Russia blasted the move through the Russian-Israeli military liaison system but stopped short of making the attack public.
‘Warning to hotheads’
On Wednesday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Moscow was preparing the S-300s for use in Syria.
“This system is a warning to all the hotheads in the region,” he warned, without explicitly naming Israel.
Upon returning from a trip to the US last month, Netanyahu said he would meet Putin soon to discuss the issue. Five weeks later, the meeting has yet to be scheduled.