Israel will continue attacking targets in Syria, but will keep coordinating with Russia
After convening his security cabinet, the Israeli prime minister told reporters on Tuesday that the IDF will continue to attack what it claims are Iranian-linked military targets in Syria – even though Syria will now be equipped with more advanced air defense systems.
The cabinet ministers expressed their full support for the Israeli military, and resolved to “continue to operate to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu said.
A statement released by the cabinet after the meeting expressed condolences to “the Russian people” after a Russian Ilyushin-20 reconnaissance plane was downed by a missile from an S-200 air defense system operated by the Syrian military, killing fifteen Russian airmen.
Moscow claims that Tel Aviv failed to inform Russia of an impending attack by Israeli fighter jets against targets in Latakia, Syria, and that the jets used the Il-20 as cover.
However, Israel said that coordination between the IDF and the Russian military will continue, and Netanyahu announced that representatives from the Russian and Israeli militaries will meet soon.
Following the downing of the Il-20, Moscow announced on Monday that it would finally equip Syria with S-300 air defense systems – a decision that had been indefinitely delayed at Tel Aviv’s request.
“In 2013, on a request from the Israeli side we suspended the delivery to Syria of the S-300 system, which was ready to be sent with its Syrian crews trained to use it. The situation has changed, and not due to our fault,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in a televised statement.
The Kremlin also stressed that providing Damascus with the S-300 systems will help protect Russian aircraft from further friendly fire incidents and “is not directed against third nations.”
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