United States urges Russian Federation to allow Israel to continue air strikes Syria

08 Novembre, 2018, 15:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin speaks at the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Issues

Israel's Environmental Protection Minister, Ze'ev Elkin, warned Russian Federation on Tuesday that its newly deployed missile defense system in Syria would be the target of airstrikes if Bashar al-Assad's army decides to make use of it against Israeli airplanes conducting operations in the war torn country.

Since Russia's delivery of advanced S-300 systems to Syria, no reports have emerged of Israeli strikes despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisting last month that the air defenses would not deter the IAF. "In case of improper operation, civilian air crafts may be harmed", Elkin, who also heads the Russia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission, said during a press conference for Russian media on Tuesday.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have regained large swathes of Syria from rebels and jihadists since 2015. Israel regards the Islamic republic as its most unsafe enemy and has staged repeated air raids against its military and allied militia deployed in Syria.

"At the same time, we emphasize that acts of force contribute to increasing regional tension and can not solve the security problems that concern Israelis", said Lavrov.

Whilst Russia and Iran have backed the Syrian government in the civil war, Israel has joined the U.S. and other allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in supporting rebel groups who oppose President Bashar al-Assad. The air defense upgrade was announced after a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military plane was downed on September 17 by a missile launched by a Syrian S-200 air defense system targeting Israeli F-16 jets that were carrying out airstrikes in Latakia. The Russian Defense Ministry has blamed the crash on the Israeli Air Force, claiming that the Israeli jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.

Although Israel and Russian Federation have generally coordinated their respective military actions in Syria, Jerusalem has made it clear that it does not need Moscow's approval before carrying out strikes there.

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Lavrov also said that Moscow regrets that the Western countries rejected the idea of Russian President Vladimir Putin to create an worldwide counter-terrorism coalition under the auspices of the United Nations.

"Our immediate effort is to try to calm that situation down and then move on to a long-term solution", the USA envoy said with regards to the fallout between Moscow and Tel Aviv. Israel has for all these years been doing everything it can to make sure Russian military personnel are not harmed. "It's a unsafe situation", Jeffrey said.

Turkey has staged two incursions into northern Syria since 2016 with a declared aim of curbing Kurdish militant groups.

US policy is to ensure the enduring defeat of Islamic State, work on a solution to the conflict under the terms of United Nations Security Council resolution 2254 and ensure all Iranian-commanded forces leave Syria entirely, he said. "Simultaneously we stressed that the use of force was unable to resolve Israeli security concerns and could only foment regional tensions", Lavrov said.

Iran has made it clear that it would stay in Syria as long as Damascus requests.

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